Although not technically necessary in most situations, due to practical considerations it's frequently required.
Premium processing is a $2500 government fee paid to ensure USCIS will act on your case within 15 days. Without this service, processing times are unpredictable, typically ranging from 1 - 6 months.
H1B transfer candidates who are in the US working for another employer are allowed to start working for the new employer as soon as USCIS receives the new H1B petition. The new employee can continue to work legally until USCIS makes a final decision on the application, no matter how long that takes.
The following situations, however, frequently make premium processing a practical requirement:
- The candidate is unwilling to give notice without a new H1B approval. Even if legally authorized to start working, candidates who are currently employed are often unwilling to give notice at their current job until they have an approval notice for the new employer in hand.
- The candidate needs to renew their H1B visa during international travel. Candidates with international travel planned over the first few months of employment may require an approval notice in order to renew the H1B visa sticker in their passport before returning.
- It's not possible to file the new petition prior to the end of the candidate's 60-day grace period. If the candidate is in the US approaching the end of their 60-day grace period and it's not possible to get the new petition filed before the grace period ends, they will not be eligible to start working until the petition has been approved.