United States: Some premium processing fees returned; extent of delays unclear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is working through a backlog of premium processing requests that were submitted before the program was temporarily suspended April 3. In some cases, processing fees have been returned because the agency was unable to process petitions within 15 days.

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Key Points:

  • USCIS announced in March that it would suspend premium processing of all H-1B petitions filed on and after April 3, the first day of filing for cap-subject petitions.
  • USCIS subsequently reported a backlog of receipt notices for H-1B petitions filed before April 3, as petitioners rushed to submit premium processing requests before the suspension took effect.
  • In the last week, BAL has received returned premium processing fees from USCIS, which has said in return notices that it was unable to process petitions within 15 days.
  • USCIS has indicated that for such cases, the agency retained the Form I-907. USCIS said these petitions will continue to be prioritized even though the agency was unable to meet the 15-day processing time.

BAL Analysis: It remains unclear how long USCIS will take to process cases for which it has returned premium processing fees, though the agency said such cases will continue to be prioritized. Those with case-specific questions should contact their BAL attorney.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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