Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will increase the premium processing fee charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from $1,225 to $1,410, effective October 1, 2018. As employers are aware, USCIS is authorized to charge and collect a premium processing fee for certain employment-based petitions and applications. Premium processing allows filers to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigrant benefit requests if they pay an extra amount. Currently, premium processing is authorized for certain petitioners filing Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
With respect to H-1B petitions, and as announced in an Immigration Alert published last week, USCIS has suspended premium processing for both cap-subject petitions and most other H-1B petitions. Beginning September 11, 2018, and continuing through February 19, 2019, H-1B petitions cannot be filed utilizing premium processing, except for the following types of cases:
Cap-exempt petitions filed with the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
Petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer.” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:
Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted. (Box 2 on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129); or
Extend the stay of the beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129).
This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to any other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.