Petitioners who have received a request for evidence “should include the RFE response with the premium processing request,” USCIS says.
It may be the news thousands of H-1B aspirants waiting to hear. On Monday, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will be resuming premium processing on all H1-B petitions beginning March 12.
The agency also said that if any candidates may have received a request for evidence (RFE), then they could also include the RFE response with the premium processing request.
“USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions,” the agency said on its website. “If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request. When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If we do not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition.”
Murthy Law Firm mentioned on its website that the agency, however, “does not mention how premium-processing service may be implemented for cap-subject H1B petitions for fiscal year 2020 that will be filed during the first week of April 2019.” It noted that that most years, “the USCIS makes premium processing available for H1B lottery filings, but delays the start of the 15-day processing period by at least several weeks.”
Late in January, the USCIS had announced that it has resumed the premium processing for H1-B visa petitions submitted until the end of December 21, 2018. It stated back then: “On Jan. 28, we resumed premium processing for FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption. We plan to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H 1B petitions as agency workloads permit.”
Under premium processing, petitions are processed within 15 days. Normally, it takes between 3 and 5 months for USCIS to process work visas.
Even though the process significantly cuts the waiting time, it is not very commonly used because it is an expensive route. For every application submitted for premium processing, an additional fee of about $1,410 is levied over and above the base fee. Many IT companies choose to sponsor the service for their key employees to ease out the process while also enabling the companies to cut the waiting time.
The USCIS had suspended premium processing last year owing to the continued backlog.