US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing on October 3, 2017, for all H-1B “specialty occupation” petitions, including initial filings, H-1B amendment, change-of-employer, and extension petitions.

The agency’s premium processing service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications for a fee of $1,225. USCIS will conclude processing of premium processing cases within 15 calendar days, or, if it exceeds that timeframe, refund the $1,225 premium processing service fee. If the fee is refunded, USCIS may still expedite processing of the application.

The 15-calendar-day period begins as of the date USCIS receives the Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, provided the filing is submitted to the appropriate USCIS office with jurisdiction over the job location. USCIS will issue an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, or a request for evidence within the 15-calendar-day period. If the petition or application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, a new 15-calendar-day period will begin upon receipt by USCIS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

When premium processing is requested, USCIS also will typically grant faster processing of Form I-539 applications filed by dependents of the principal beneficiary of a petition for which Premium Processing Service has been requested if the principal beneficiary’s Form I-539 is filed at the same time as the Form I-907. Because USCIS provides this service as a courtesy, it will not guarantee faster processing of the Form I-539.

Effective April 3, 2017, USCIS had suspended the premium processing service for all H-1B petitions received at its Service Centers, including those subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 annual quota (the “cap”). On July 24, 2017, the agency lifted the suspension for certain H-1B cap-exempt petitions and on September 18, 2017, reinstated premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the cap (see Mayer Brown’s Legal Update, “Premium Processing Reactivated for H-1B Cap Cases”). Today’s announcement reinstates premium processing service for all H-1B petitions.

More information on USCIS premium processing service is available on the USCIS premium processing website.