Previously, many citizens of Russia and the CIS who graduated from universities with Bachelor’s / Master’s Degree or Doctor of Philosophy visited the USA without any troubles by getting an invitation from employers and receiving a H1B visa quickly.
It used to happen due to the presence of Premium Processing Service, which provides accelerated process for certain petitions (within 15 calendar days instead of 6 months). And a fee for this service was only $ 1,250.
Unfortunately, after the introduction of the Green Card lottery, H1B visas also began to be played out every year after April 1. For instance, last year 420,000 visas were issued in Massachusetts, and there were about 1 million participants. Of course, those who remained without visas were transferred to the next year. But at the same time, the government returned money to the applicants; i.e. anyone, who did not win the lottery, could apply again in the following year. After the Republicans came to power, the premium process was completely abolished and all visas were considered during 6 months. This process could not be accelerated in any way.
At the end of 2018, the US Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the resumption of the premium processing of H1B visa applications, and people have this opportunity to make the process faster again, but the fee increased from $ 1,250 to $ 1,450.
The USCIS still guarantees that the process will last 15 calendar days. But it is better to take into account the fact that the period of 15 days comes only after the immigration service receives the current version of Form I-907 “Request for premium processing service” at the correct filing address specified in the form. Further, it is only necessary to wait for a notification of approval, refusal, intention to refuse, request for additional documents or the beginning of an investigation into the fact of fraud or misrepresentation.