US resume premium processing of H-1B visas after temporary suspensions
Washington: The US has resumed fast processing of H-1B work visas in all categories subject to Congress-mandated limit, five months after it was suspended temporarily to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas popular among Indian IT professionals.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.
Premium processing of H-1B visa was suspended in April to handle huge rush of new petitions.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing on Monday for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap, a media release said.
The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000. Premium processing has also been resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a US higher educational degree, it said.
When a petitioner requests the agency's premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time.
"If the 15-calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner's premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application," the USCIS said.
It added that the service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap.
In addition to resumption of premium processing for H-1B via petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver programme, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.
"Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay," the USCIS said, adding that it plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H-1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit.