US extends suspension of premium processing for H-1B visas

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Washington: The US has extended the temporary suspension of premium processing for H1-B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, as part of its efforts to clear the backlog. Premium processing is a feature that shortens the usual processing time of H-1B visa petitions from an average of six months to 15 calendar days for a fee of USD 1,225 (Rs 86,181). It allowed some companies to jump the queue.

The suspension, announced on Tuesday by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), are expected to last until February 19 next year. The USCIS said it is extending the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning September 11, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions.

Under the premium processing, the USCIS has to respond within 15 days to the H-1B visa petitions submitted to it. The USCIS had announced in March that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all fiscal year 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a US master’s degree or higher.

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