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Suspension of Premium Processing For H-1B Visas

by: Justin Burton

It is no secret that individuals seeking a change in immigration status from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) often experience delays in the processing time of their applications. Now, the processing time for many people seeking H-1B visas may be substantially increased.

USCIS recently announced that as of April 3, all premium processing services for H-1B visa applications will be suspended. Generally speaking, processing of an H-1B visa application can take three to six months. However, if the applicant pays an additional $1,225 for premium processing, their application review will be expedited to render a response within 15 days or they receive a refund. Once the premium processing option is suspended, everyone will face the same delays in receiving a response. This includes both highly skilled workers recruited from foreign countries, as well as foreign students who are finishing their U.S. educations and being recruited for jobs in the U.S.

Many people – especially F-1 visa students waiting to hear if they received approval of their H-1B visas – may lose work authorization while they wait for their pending applications to be processed. In addition, there can be restrictions on international travel, as doing so can cancel any change of immigration status requests.

Some cap-exempt employers may find other ways to obtain review and approval of H-1B visa applications in a faster way. For example, they may be able to request expedited review, which USCIS grants based on certain criteria. Such criteria can include:

  • Serious monetary loss to a business or individual;
  • The existence of an emergency situation;
  • Humanitarian purposes;
  • Situations involving national interest or the Department of Defense (these requests must originate from a government agency);
  • Nonprofits that further social or cultural interests in the U.S.;
  • USCIS has a compelling interest;
  • USCIS committed an error.

If you are applying for an H-1B visa and attempt to get premium processing during the suspension, your request will be rejected. In addition, it is important to know that you should not submit one check for both the visa application fee and the premium processing fee. If you do so, both the application and the premium processing request will be rejected.

Contact Our Chicago Immigration Lawyers For Assistance Today

When announcements are released like the recent announcement regarding the suspension of premium processing, it is easy to feel helpless against a confusing and changing immigration system. However, it is important to realize that help is available and our experienced Chicago immigration attorneys will strive to find solutions to your immigration situation. At the law office of Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we represent clients during the visa application process, as well as in a number of other serious immigration matters. We understand how important your immigration status is to you and your family, so please call today at 312-332-2550 for more information.

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