Premium processing is an important aspect of H1B processing with USCIS as it can speed up the overall process with USCIS. Below are the complete details of the same.
H1B Processing Time – No SLA
In general, there is no SLA ( service level agreement) for processing of H1B Petitions filed with USCIS. They can take as long as they want to process an H1B petition. You may be able to only raise a service request, if it is past the general processing time. Most of the times, the general processing times for normal petitions are at least in the range of a few months. So, applicants are typically stuck waiting for the decisions, if they file an H1B petition in normal processing.
Luckily, there is a way out, that is premium processing.
What is H1B Premium Processing ?
USCIS provides an option to speed up or expedite the processing time of an H1B Petition filed with them by paying a certain fee. That process to speed up the processing of H1B Petition is called Premium Processing. It is also available for other visa petitions as well. Unlike regular processing, premium processing comes up with an SLA and there is way to follow up with USCIS to get faster results, if any issues.
How much Processing time for H1B Premium Processing ?
USCIS guarantees a decision on the H1B petition in 15 days ( calendar days), if the petition is filed as premium processing. USCIS will count the H1B premium processing SLA from the date they receive the premium processing fee along with the required form for premium processing.
What can you expect from USCIS in 15 days ?
USCIS will issue one of the below in 15 days.
- Approval Notice ( if all is good with petition)
- Denial Notice ( if something is wrong and they want to deny right away)
- Request for Evidence, aka RFE ( if they need more info to process )
- Notice of Intent to Deny, aka NOIR ( if they plan to deny and giving last chance)
How does 15 days work, if they issue RFE ?
If they issue RFE or NOIR, the 15 days clock stops. The 15 days SLA or clock starts from the day you submit the response to RFE or NOIR. It will start over from the beginning and not from the previous time. Meaning, the 15 days clock starts from beginning after you submit the relevant info.
H1B Premium Processing forms ?
You need to file form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, along with your H1B petition to process your H1B petition in Premium processing.
H1B Premium Processing Fee ?
USCIS fee for H1B Premium Processing is $1,440 USD.
How to file H1B petition in Premium Processing ?
Employers have two options, concurrent filing or upgrade.
- Concurrent Filing : Employers can have the H1B Petition processed in premium, if they submit the H1B petition and premium processing fee and relevant form I907 when they initially submit the H1B package to USCIS. This is technically a concurrent filing of Premium processing option with the H1B petition.
- Premium Processing Upgrade : This option is to upgrade an existing pending petition with USCIS for faster processing. In this case, employers need to just pay the premium processing fee and the relevant form I-907 along with it and send the copy of the receipt notice to the relevant service center for the premium processing.
What happens if USCIS does not process the 15 days SLA window ?
If USCIS does not make a decision in 15 days, they will issue a fee refund.
Can you contact USCIS for H1B Premium Processing follow up ?
Yes, you can call them at 866-315-5718.