USCISS released a press note earlier today indicating that they would accept H1B Petitions for FY 2019 quota starting from April 2nd, 2018. The press release is slightly delayed by a week, last year we had it on March 15th. Anyways, below is a quick summary of the news update and its impact on current H1B transfers, extensions.
USCIS news summary – H1B 2019 Season Start date, Premium Processing.
- H1B 2019 Petitions Acceptance: USCIS will accept H1B applications for FY 2019 season starting from April 2nd. Usually, it is April 1st, as it is a Sunday, they are accepting from April 2nd.
- FY 2019 Cap Petitions – Premium Process Suspension : Premium processing for H1B petitions filed under FY 2019 cap will be suspended until September 10th, 2018. This suspension applies to both regular quota and master quota cap petitions. USCIS will indicate to public on any changes and when they will accept premium processing as a press note.
- Why Suspension of Premium Processing : USCIS indicates that this temporary suspension of H1B premium processing for FY 2019 cap petitions is to process pending applications due to high volumes and prioritize H1B extension of status cases that are at 240 day mark. This is similar reason given last year by USCIS. Also, you can check some of the H1B Visa Approval Trends since 2007 .
- Premium Processing as usual petitions not subject to FY 2019 cap : Unlike last year, this year, they have not suspended premium processing for all petitions. If you are a H1B holder, who are not subject to FY 2019 cap, you can apply for premium processing. Basically, all H1B holders who plan to do transfers, extensions or any changes, including cap exempt petitions are free to file for premium processing.
- Rejection of FY 2019 Petitions filed under Premium processing : If you as an employer, file for H1B petition under premium processing for FY 2019 cap subject petition, then your petition will be rejected by USCIS. If you combine the fees and give a check for both, it will be rejected as well, so do not file for premium processing, if you are filing for FY 2019 quota.
- Request Expedited Processing for H1B FY 2019 Petitions : If you filed an H1B petition for FY 2019 cap quota, but require expedited processing due to reasons such as listed below, you can request for the same. More info on USCIS site. But, it is the responsibility of the petitioner to demonstrate the need and prove the reasons for expediting. It is ultimate decision of USCIS to process it or not.
- Non-profit orgs that are in social, cultural interest of US
- Severe financial loss to company or the person
- Emergency Situations
- Humanitarian reasons
- of Defense or national interest of US requested by US Govt.
- Any USCIS error or compelling interest of USCIS
Any Premium Processing impact for Current H1B Holders for Transfers, Extensions ?
Absolutely not, this was a big concern last year for many. If you are not subject to FY 2019 cap, you are fine, you can file Premium Processing as usual for transfers, extensions and other cap exempt petitions.
H1B FY 2019 Cap Count Numbers : While this is not explicitly stated in the new release, USCIS has updated the FY 2019 page with the below numbers. So, no changes here. Regular Cap – 65,000 and Masters Cap – 20,000 .
H1B 2019 Case Tracker ? Track your Case Anonymously :
Did you apply for H1B FY 2019 quota. It is very hard for applicants to know the general status of everyone to understand their situation. We have a tracker with community contributed data, the more you add, the better for everyone, including You !
What’s are the key takeaways – Lottery or Not ? Fee ?
USCIS press release is pretty standard like last year, the only difference is in the premium processing availability for H1B petitions filed for transfers, extensions. There is no mention of Lottery or not. But, it can be assumed we will have lottery looking at the trend. You can read our H1B Visa 2019 Lottery Predictions. Also, in last year press note, they talked about that they will monitor and update when cap is reached for FY 2018, but they do not talk about any of that…but we can assume that.. Also, no changes in H1B Visa Filing fees . Also, they do not tell anything like they will accept for first 5 days, if lottery situation…but, we can assume that it is standard process, so nothing to worry. With Trump administration’s new H1B Memo on Third Party worksite, there are more challenges to submit all documentation for EVC model employers and it will be tricky this year.
Anything that I missed ? Your thoughts ?
If you are new to H1B Process, read H1B Visa Basics – Fee, process, Quota Cap
Reference : USCIS Press Release FY 2019