The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just announced this week that it will temporarily suspend premium processing service for H-1B renewals and H-1B transfers. To comply with USCIS policy, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is unable to request premium processing service (15-day adjudication) for H-1B renewals and H-1B transfers effective immediately through July 27, 2015. The issuance of the H-1B approval, under regular processing, is currently taking an estimated three months. The announcement can be found online, and this notification has also been posted to the ISSO website.

Please note:

  • Premium processing service will still be accepted by the USCIS for Initial H-1B requests
  • Current H-1B scholars with an extension or transfer filing will continue to be eligible for employment up to 240 days beyond their current expiration date even if their extension of stay is not yet approved by the USCIS, as long as the petition has been received by the USCIS in a timely manner (240-day grace period)

During this time, current H-1B scholars with an expiration date in the summer: 

  • May be unable to travel abroad without a valid H-1B approval for reentry
  • May be unable to renew a California driver's license without a valid H-1B approval

The ISSO has reached out to the 33 potentially affected H-1B scholars by email and has notified HR Shared Services of the affected scholars so that they can coordinate next steps in conjunction with the department.