On May 19, 2015, USCIS announced that from May 26 until July 27, 2015, they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions.
On May 19, 2015, USCIS announced that from May 26 until July 27, 2015, they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions. During this timeframe, USCIS will not accept any I-907 Forms filed on behalf of H-1B beneficiaries who seek extension of stay. USCIS will, however, continue to process premium processing requests receipted prior to May 26 if they remain pending during that time frame. There is an indication in the announcement, however, that USCIS may not be able to adjudicate these cases in the normal 15-day timeframe, as the notice states that USCIS will refund the premium processing fee in such cases.
USCIS will continue to premium process all other H-1B petitions during this window, including H-1B cap cases and those requesting a change of status or consular notification. The option to select consular notification may be useful for some beneficiaries who would otherwise seek extension of stay but instead file with consular notification and anticipate leaving and reentering the U.S. with the new approval notice prior to expiration of the previously authorized period of stay.
USCIS indicated that their reason for suspending premium processing on these limited cases is to effectively implement the H-4 Spousal EAD Final Rule in a timely manner.
It should be noted that in most cases, H-1B extensions of stay are the types of H-1B petitions least likely to require premium processing, because 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(20) permits H-1B beneficiaries who have filed for extension of stay to continue working for up to 180 days, while the petition is pending, as long as they continue to work for the same employer. Moreover, for those H-1B beneficiaries who are changing employers while extending their stay, H-1B portability rules also authorize employment while the petition is pending. Therefore, while there are certainly other reasons why premium processing may be desired in such cases (such as the need to renew a driver's license), these tend to be the least urgent types of H-1B petitions.
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