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USCIS News : H1B 2020 Starts on April 1, Premium Processing for COS

USCIS released a press note earlier today confirming the standard April 1st start date for accepting petitions for the H1B Visa 2020 Season. There are some differences in the press release regarding premium processing from previous years and new announcements as part of this news release, we will summarize them below.

 Summary of USCIS News on H1B Start Date for FY 2020, Premium Processing :

We have outlined the various topics in the press releases as sections for clarity. Below are the listed topics regarding H1B 2020 Season.

Start Date for FY 2020 Season

USCIS will accept H1B petitions starting from April 1st, 2019 for the fiscal year 2020, which is the start date of the H1B cap 2020 season. Employers planning to sponsor H1B visas for the upcoming H1B season can file H1B petitions with USCIS on April 1st.  It is no different from the previous years, usually USCIS accepts petitions on April 1st or the first working day in April such as April 2nd or 3rd, depending on the first working day in April.

Reject H1B  Petitions Filed before April 1st :

USCIS indicated that they will reject any H1B petitions that are filed before April 1st, that are filed for FY 2020 cap. Essentially, they want to make sure people do not flood applications before April 1st to their offices.

H1B Visa 2020 Guidance Check list :

They have also released a guidance checklist for H1B Employers to help with the filing of H1B petitions. They had similar ones in the past, it is just updated with few things for FY 2020. They emphasize to follow all the statutory and regulatory processes to avoid RFEs or delays in processing. This checklist would provide some guidance on the same. Check out Optional Checklist for I-129 H1B Filings by USCIS

H1B Visa 2020 Premium Processing Details

USCIS indicated that premium processing will be offered in two phases for fiscal year 2020. In the first phase, they will allow H1B premium processing for FY 2020 cap subject petitions that are filed with Change of Status (COS). In the second phase, they will allow premium processing for all other H1B 2020 cap subject petitions.  This is very different from last couple of years, where USCIS was suspending all the premium processing for few months. So, it is a good thing.

How to file H1B Premium Processing for FY 2020 for Change of Status (COS) Petitions ?

USCIS is allowing premium processing service for H1B 2020 cap subject petitions that are filed as Change of Status (COS) Petitions, if they file it concurrently with their initial petition with USCIS. What it means is that, if you want to use premium processing, you need to submit Form I-907 ( premium processing request form) along with your original H1B petition that you file on April 1st with COS option.  They need to select option B in Part 2 of I-129 form, which clearly tells that it is COS application. See below screenshot for the same.H1B Premium Processing Option B COS for FY 2020 Season

No option to upgrade to Premium Processing for COS in middle , Rejections

USCIS clarified that, if an employer does NOT file premium processing along with the original H1B petition, then they cannot upgrade to premium processing in the middle, until they announce that premium processing is accepted for all such petitions. So, it is important to make this decision during filing itself.  USCIS will reject all petitions that.

Start Date of Premium Processing 15 Day Clock for FY 2020 Petitions

USCIS says that the premium processing clock for the H1B FY 2020 COS petitions will start from May 20, 2019. They say no later than May 20, 2019…meaning that it may start before that as well. In the previous years, we have seen that many of the premium processing petitions getting decisions much before the USCIS indicated premium processing start date. Also, USCIS mentioned that they will notify everyone as an alert indicating the start of the premium processing, if it is early.

Premium Processing for Consular Processing  or Non-COS H1B 2020 Petitions

Premium processing for general petitions filed under consular processing without a Change of status (COS) would very likely open around June 2019 or later. Employers cannot file premium processing for petitions that are filed under this consular processing category / non-COS during H1B season start on April 1st. These kind of petitions can be upgraded later once USCIS announces premium processing for such petitions. USCIS will issue a press release indicate the availability of premium processing for this category.

H1B Premium Processing for Transfers, Extensions available :

Premium Processing is fully available for all petitions that are no subject to cap, such as Transfers, Extensions. This is a good news for many as you do not have to wait, if you have a better offer or plan to extend your H1B.

Launch of H1B Data Hub – Employer Info

USCIS is launching a H1B Employer Data Hub which will be available on USCIS website on April 1st to check the petitioner’s details by fiscal year. Essentially as part of transparency, you can look at a H1B Sponsoring company by name, their location, NAICS Code, zip code, city, state and other details and look at the approval, denial rates for the same employers. This is a great initiative as much of the information is like a black box and we all were relying on LCA data, which is not the accurate info regarding H1B approvals.

H1B Cap Lottery Selection Process :

USCIS also clarified that part of the New H1B Registration Rule will be applicable for FY 2020 season, which is basically the change in lottery order.  This lottery order change will increase options for H1B masters quota petitions. Check out full details of New H1B 2020 Lottery Details.

H1B Cap Total Count, Lottery Full Info

USCIS re-affirmed that the H1B cap for FY 2020 stating that regular cap would be 65,000 and the US Masters cap would be 20,000. Also, they will monitor and inform public once they get enough petitions to meet the cap, essentially the lottery accepted dates. Usually, petitions are accepted for first 5 days.

H1B 2020 Case Tracker : It is quite hard for applicants to know the general status of everyone to understand their situation. We have put together a tracker along with good graphs for analysis. It is completely anonymous as we do not capture your case number or any personal information. It is community contributed data, the more you add, the better for everyone, including  You !

[prompt type=”left” title=”Track your H1B Case” message=” Anonymously Track your H1B Case – Share and Get updated from Community.” button_text=”H1B 2020 Case Tracker” href=”https://redbus2us.com/trackers/h1b-visa-tracker/”]

What do you think of the press release ?

Read USCIS press Release for full info


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  1. Hi,
    I am currently on H1B and my I797 is set to expire in May 2020. My current employer is working on getting my H1B extended and will file under premium processing in the next 2 weeks. I have my I-140 approved with some other company and my current employer has also filed for green card LC few months ago.

    I may get new job offer and will need to transfer my h1b to them. Since, my current employer is working on getting my h1b extended and also filed for green card LC, will I get affected if my new employer applies for h1b transfer? Will they suspend premium processing in 2020 like they did in the previous years?

  2. Hi,

    My petition was selected in the lottery and I would like to upgrade to Premium Processing now. My attorney says that we are now able to upgrade quota petitions? I am on H4 visa(with a full-time job) and I have a Masters degree.

    Thanks in advance,

  3. Hi all,
    My company is sponsoring me but paying lesser than the wage level I required in my county. But is promising me that they will pay me according to H1B rules if selected and also mentioned my salary as the amount minimum required to file H1B. Is it common? will there be any problem with USCIS processing?

    • It all depends on the Job related Code that they used in LCA and the position they offered to you. As long as all of that is in inline, it should be fine. Discuss with the attorney, if you have questions. You can check your LCA for the SOC code and verify that on FLCDatacenter for wage levels. Check How to find LCA wage Level

  4. Hi,

    I know this is not a correct place to ask this information. But need some help on this

    I was attended H1B visa interview six months back and got 221G blue slip with additional documents request. My employer were not able to provide the client contract documents. So found new job and applied for H1 transfer and got the approval. Now I want to know what is the process for visa stamping?

    1) Do I need to send email to consulate for withdrawn the previous 221G issued visa stamping petition before I go for interview? or not required?

    2) What consulate VO will ask in this scenario? What will be the approval rate for this scenario?

    3) It require to attend interview for same consulate location?

    Please help me on this

    • 1. You do not have to do anything, assuming you did not give your passport to consulate. If you read the blue slip on the bottom, it says, if you do not respond within certain period of time, it will expire.
      2.Every case is different, you need to defend based on the merits of your current petition.
      3. Not necessarily, changing consulate will not really change the decision, all of them use the same system…

  5. I got job offer on H1b visa and it need to start 1st July. Any advice please. Looking at FY2020 new regulations, do you think submitting premium service before 31st March will make any difference.

  6. Both are of same category Non-Immigrant visas but with different eligibility criteria, once you satisfy the criteria the employer can apply,…

  7. Hi Team,

    I Got RFE and my status is denied on 02-Feb-19
    My employer is going to file L1, so what is the cool off period for submitting.

    Is there any general time line when to re-submit again ?

    • If your petition gets picked, then it will be processed in premium processing and it would be in 15 days from around May 20th or earlier. USCIS has not given any guidance if they would inform the premium processing petitions, if they were not selected earlier than everyone else, need to see how they will handle.

      • Thank you Kumar. But my H1B case will be new and consulate processing. If it will select in Lottery then can it be for Premium processing?

        • You are not eligible for Premium processing in the first round. USCIS will announce when it will be available for consular processing petitions, then you can upgrade, if you get selected.


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