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US begins premium processing for H-1B with exemptions to the cap

Posted on April  28 , 2014

Today/tomorrow (in USA), April 28, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for H-1B applications subject to the fiscal year 2015 cap, including H-1B applications seeking an exemption from the cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.


On April 7th, 2014, it was announced that a sufficient number of applications had been received to reach the cap of 65,000 for the fiscal year.  USCIS conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then became part of the random selection (lottery) process for the 65,000 limit.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  •  Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

The H-1B program allows US employers to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming, and fashion models.

USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.