USCIS Extends Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions to Reduce Delays

Last Updated on February 23, 2023


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 28, 2018 that it will cease accepting premium requests for certain H-1B petitions. Previously this year, USCIS had suspended premium for any cap-subject petitions which was to remain in effect until September 10, 2018. Now, in order for USCIS to get caught up with their backlog, they have decided to keep that suspension in place and extend it to most other H-1B petitions.

The USCIS will allow premium upgrades to apply to the following two types of H-1B petitions:

  • Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or

  • H-1B extensions filed for employees where there is no change in employment from the last H-1B petition approved on behalf of the employee and the petition is being filed at the Nebraska Service Center.

This suspension is expected to last until February 19, 2019. The employer should be able to submit a premium request at that point, as long as the suspension is lifted in February and the case is still pending with USCIS

Please note that if the H-1B case does not fall into one of the above-categories, and if the case currently is pending with premium processing as of September 11, 2018, USCIS will issue a refund for the premium fee — provided there is no decision on the case by September 11, 2018. Based on this, cases filed with premium between now and September 11, will most likely not be able to obtain the benefit of premium processing.

Next Steps for Envoy Customers

Employers: If a case is open within the Envoy portal now and premium has been requested, please contact your Envoy client manager for further assistance with getting a refund for any premium fee.

Employees: If you are currently in cap-gap status by virtue of your pending H-1B cap case, please post to your Envoy communication portal so your Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (GIA) representative can coordinate with your employer on any implications. If you are not in cap-gap but have concerns about your status, please post to your Envoy communication portal.

We will be sure to notify you with any updates. If you have legal questions, you are free to post them to your Envoy communication center. Direct all other questions toward your representative at Envoy or Envoy’s customer experience team.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information which was prepared in collaboration with Attorneys Sara Herbek & Ryan Bay at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.


Are you ready for this year’s H-1B cap season? Watch the first part of our H-1B Cap Prep Series to learn how to prepare for FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season.