Rapid Processing Available for All High-Skill Guestworker Visas
By Laura D. Francis
All types of H-1B specialty occupation visa petitions once again have the option of fast-track processing.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Oct. 3 announced that premium processing is available for extensions of H-1B status, the last category of petitions that hasn’t already had the service restored. Premium processing allows petitioners to pay an extra fee to guarantee a decision within 15 calendar days.
The USCIS in March suspended premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions, citing heavy workloads and backlogs. In June, the agency allowed premium processing only for physicians working in medically underserved areas. In September, H-1B visa petitions subject to the annual cap of 65,000 also were allowed premium processing.
Even with the availability of premium processing, delays still may occur because of added scrutiny.
Many H-1B sponsors have received requests for evidence seeking more information justifying the proposed wage as well as the classification of the position as a specialty occupation. Putting together that extra information takes time, and the 15-day window starts again once the USCIS receives a response to a request, according to the agency.
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