By: Chris Musillo

Effective Tuesday March 12, 2019, USCIS will again allow premium processing on all H-1B petitions. While this is welcome news, the window of upgrading H-1B petitions to the Premium Processing Service may be short. In 2018, USCIS suspended premium processing on H-1B transfers and amendments effective September 11, 2018.

The only exceptions to the September 2018 USCIS premium processing suspension were for H-1B extensions (i) with the same employer or (ii) H-1Bs for cap-exempt institutions, such as Universities or research organizations.

Accordingly, if you have a pending H-1B petition, you may only have a few months to upgrade to premium processing. It is impossible to say what USCIS will do because the USCIS often makes these announcements with very little warning. Conceivably, the USCIS may not even wait until September to suspend premium processing on H-1B transfers and amendments.

Although no announcement has been made, it is expected that USCIS will not allow April 1, 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions to take advantage of premium processing.