In an announcement on August 28, 2018, USCIS announced that, instead of lifting the suspension of Premium Processing Service (PPS) for H-1B “cap” cases that was supposed to last only through September 10, 2018, it is extending the PPS ban for such cases to February 19, 2019. In addition, starting September 11, 2018, USCIS will extend its PPS ban to most other types of H-1B cases, as well. In summary, H-1B PPS suspensions are being expanded as follows:
- Cap-subject H-1B petitions: The PPS suspension that was supposed to apply to H-1B cap cases through 09/10/2018 is now extended to 02/19/2019. No PPS conversion for H-1B cap petitions may be filed in the meantime. This may adversely affect employees relying on H-1B “cap gap” work authorization, which is valid only through 09/30/2018, if those employees’ pending change-of-status to H-1B is not approved by USCIS on or before 10/01/2018.
- Other H-1B petitions: For the case to be on the PPS track, the I-907 (PPS request form) and filing fee must be filed with USCIS on or before 09/10/2018, while PPS is still available for such petitions. After that date, and until 02/19/2019, PPS will be unavailable.
- Exceptions (PPS to remain available for these types of H-1Bs): The two exceptions to the H-1B PPS ban are (1) H-1B petitions filed as cap-exempt because of employment by/at a cap-exempt organization, and (2) H-1B petitions for an employee’s continuation of previously approved H-1B employment without change with the same employer.
We are sorry that USCIS has taken this approach to its already long backlog of H-1B cases due for adjudication. We will be working with all affected clients to strategize around this news.