On June 23, 2017, USCIS associate director Donald Neufeld announced at the American Immigration Lawyers Association conference that USCIS would resume premium processing of H-1B for Conrad 30 physicians. These are doctors who have agreed to work for three years in medically undeserved areas, in order to obtain waivers of the two-year foreign residency requirement resulting from completing medical training programs in J-1 status. Each state in the U.S. can designate up to 30 physicians for this program. A large number of doctors working in rural and undeserved areas are Conrad 30 doctors. The law requires that these doctors must obtain a change of status to H-1B within 90 days after approval of their waiver application. This has been impossible without premium processing. Premium processing for all H-1B petitions was suspended in April 2017. Mr. Neufeld explained that the suspension was necessary to reduce the backlog of petitions that had been filed with regular processing. These petitions were taking more than a year to process.
Mr. Neufeld also stated that USCIS would gradually re-introduce premium processing into other classifications of H-1B petitions. Under the premium processing program, USCIS processes cases in 15 calendar days for an additional filing fee of $1,225.