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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Temporary Hold Imposed on Expedited Processing of H-1B Visa Petitions

March 16, 2017

The Trump administration has placed a temporary hold on expedited applications for H-1B visas, according to a March 3 announcement by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Beginning April 3, USCIS will suspend "premium processing"—the procedure enabling applicants to obtain visa approvals as quickly as within 15 days—for up to six months.

H-1B visas enable a foreign national to work in the U.S. for a temporary period and are available generally to employees in specialty occupations that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. A person may hold H-1B status for a maximum of six years, issued in increments of up to three years by the USCIS.

According to the USCIS, the temporary suspension of the H-1B premium processing program will enable the agency to address a backlog of pending petitions and prioritize resolution of petitions for extensions that are nearing the 240-day mark.

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may be eligible to request an expedited approval of their H-1B petition if they meet special criteria. USCIS will review such requests on a case-by-case basis.


Mary Bachinger
Director, Tax Policy