H-1B Premium Processing Information

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend their Premium Processing Service for H-1B petitions beginning on April 3, 2017. The suspension may last up to six months. For more information visit https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-will-temporarily-suspend-premium-processing-all-h-1b-petitions.

What does it mean for the hiring department and the employee? This temporary suspension will have an enormous impact to universities and colleges due to our cap-exempt nature and traditional appointment calendars with many positions that begin on July 1.

If an H-1B petition has already been filed and is currently pending, the department or employee may request an upgrade to premium processing service which must be submitted and received by USCIS before April 3. 

Since the H-1B process (new petition or an extension) takes months to prepare and complete, any future H-1B cases will be submitted with regular processing until the temporarily suspension of premium processing service has been lifted. Normal processing of an H-1B petition may take 7 to 9 months to be adjudicated although USCIS has stated they hope to reduce the overall H-1B processing time with the temporary suspension.

The hiring department and new employee will need to consider alternative work authorization (F-1 OPT, J-1), if applicable. The suspension may impact the employment start date but also disrupt international travel or renewal of driver's license for certain individuals. We will update this website with any changes or new information.

Please email ISSS at ischolar@ucsc.edu if you have specific questions or concerns about a case.