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U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced late Friday, March 3, 2017, that it will suspend the use of premium processing for all H-1B status petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. This applies to all H-1B petitions filed under the H-1B cap (which opens April 3, 2017) and any other H-1B filings for extension, change of status or amended petitions. USCIS stated in the announcement that the suspension could last as long as six months, and it will make an announcement before the use of premium processing for H-1B petitions will be resumed.
USCIS stated in the announcement that any I-907s (premium processing request forms) and corresponding checks filed on or after April 3, 2017, will be rejected. If the filing contains a combined check for the premium processing fee and other H-1B fees, then the entire filing will be rejected. Premium processing requests will continue to be allowed up to April 3 for H-1B petitions. It will also be allowed after April 3 for other filings on Form I-129 for other statuses, including Ls and TNs. While premium processing is suspended for H-1Bs, the ability to request expedited processing for certain petitions is still available. However, the ability to expedite is available only in limited circumstances, and decisions are made by USCIS on a case-by-case basis. USCIS believes the suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions will allow it to reduce overall H-1B processing times by giving it more time to clear out the backlog of cases that currently exists.
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