H1B Premium Processing Suspended News Till Feb 2019

USCIS News : H1B Premium Processing Suspended Until Feb 19, 2019. Impact Analysis ?

In H1B Visa News by Kumar138 Comments

USCIS announced earlier today that premium processing will be suspended for most of the H1B Visa petitions starting September 11th, 2018 until Feb 19th , 2019. Below is a summary of the update and how it will impact various H1B holders and prospective H1B seekers like F1 students, OPT, etc.

Summary of USCIS H1B Premium Processing Suspension until Feb 19th , 2019 :
Below is a quick summary on how the premium processing will apply to various visa holders.

  • H1B Visa FY 2019 Cap Subject Applicants  :  USCIS originally suspended premium processing for H1B FY 2019 applicants in April and planned to resume in early September, but this has changed and the new guidance is that the premium processing suspension continues for FY 2019 cap subject applicants until Feb 19, 2019.
  • H1B Extensions, Transfers :  As per the press release, starting September 11th, 2018 until Feb 19th, 2019, the premium processing is suspended for most of the H1B applicants, filing either extensions or transfers filing petitions at Vermont and California Service Centres with two exceptions as listed below.
    • Cap Exempt Employers : H1B Premium processing is available for cap exempt employers like Higher education institutions, government research entities and some qualified non-profit organizations that file petitions at California Service Center.
    • H1B Extensions – With NO Change : H1B extensions without any changes as indicated in I-129 form. See below screenshot, If the employer selects option b in part 2 of I-129 i.e. “continuation of previously approved employment without any change with the same employer”,   that are filed with Nebraska Service Center are eligible for premium processing.Option B - H1B Extension - I129 form
  • Option to Request Expedited Processing :  Similar to announcement in April,  if you require expedited processing due to reasons such as listed below, you can request for the same. More info on USCIS site.  It is the responsibility of the petitioner to demonstrate the need and prove the reasons for expediting. It is ultimate decision of USCIS and discretion of the office leadership 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.
  • Premium Processing Before Sept 11th, 2018 : USCIS will continue to accept Premium Processing for H1B applications until Sept 11th, 2018 for extensions, transfers. But, if USCIS is not able to adjudicate a premium processing petition filed before Sept 11th, 201 within 15 calendar day processing period, they will refund the premium processing fee. So, it is not fully guaranteed that filing premium processing will result in 15 days processing time even if you file it before Sept 11th.

Why USCIS is Suspending Premium Processing until next year  ?
USCIS says that they are suspending premium processing for H1B petitions to help reduce their backlog of H1B petitions that are due over 240 days. They want to reduce the overall processing time for all H1B petitions by adjudicating all the long pending petitions. With premium processing in place, USCIS is receiving many of premium processing requests and not able to adjudicate regular processing petitions on time and they are overdue.

What’s the impact of the H1B Premium processing suspension till Feb 2019 ?
This news can impact the below visa holders in US in different ways and very significantly.

  • F1 Students in Cap Gap – OPT :  International students on F1 visa and in OPT Cap gap with no H1B approval by October 1st need to stop working after September 30th. This is a tricky scenario and OPT students in Cap Gap period…If your petition was filed as Change of Status, you may continue to stay in US until you receive decision, but your authorization to work ends on September 30th.
  • Unlawful presence Memo – F1 Students : As you know, there are new guidelines by USCIS on how they look at  F1 students  Unlawful Presence after Aug 9th, 2018 , you need to extremely careful of your status and stay in US as 180 day mark for Unlawful status will hit by Feb 4th, 2019 and if your petition is denied for a reason that is due to unauthorized activity, you may be accumulating unlawful presence retroactively from August 9th and maybe facing 3 year bar( cannot get visa ) to enter US.
  • H1B Transfers – Changing Employers : Many of the employers and employees prefer to have approved H1B petition before someone begins working at new employer. With the suspension of premium processing, it can take a very long time to have that approval and many employees may be less willing to change employers due to this uncertainty.

What do you think of the suspension of Premium Processing ?  Any other impacts ?

Reference : USCIS Extends Premium Processing Suspension till Feb 2019 

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Comments ( 138 )

  1. Sriram

    Hi,

    I am working at Company A and have an offer from company B. My question is my visa hasn’t been stamped for H1B yet, as it was only approved last month. If company B applies for a transfer through regular processing and it gets approved god knows when, would I have a problem when I go back to my home country for stamping after joining the new job?

  2. Karan

    Hello,

    Since Premium processing is suspended, what other alternatives are employees or employers taking to fasten the h1b transfers?
    Its difficult to wait until Feb to start PP. Anyone looking to transfer but stuck?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Helper

      The only option is to join on the receipt which might be risky in current scenario. Next option would be to request the employer to re-consider the offer again when uscis resumes premium processing.
      Depending on how urgently they want to fill the position they might or might not consider this request.

      Good Luck!

    2. Robinhood

      Take risk to join on receipt only if

      – If you have Masters degree or Bachelors degree with CS background
      – If company you are planning to join is not the one who is consuming major quota in H1B
      – Wage level is 3 for west coast
      – Wage level is 2 or more for east coast ( specially SC , NC , GA )
      – You are working on some complex development and not part of any Managerial activities or QA Test lead etc.

      This is what my assumptions based on approvals , denials and rfe people around me .

      1. fortunate unfortunate

        I had a wage 3 level offer from a firm in midwest (mechanical engineering). But they asked me to wait till the uscis resumes the premium processing. Dint give me the option of joining on receipt.

  3. KPH1B

    HI,
    I am on H1B working for company A and new job offered by company B and filed transfer petition with USCIS in premium processing on Aug 26th and received RFE on Sept 5th. Now Company B is going to respond rfe after September 11th( USCIS suspended premium processing after Sept 11th). Is USCIS going to consider RFE response in premium processing or regular processing? Appreciate your answers.

  4. Shak

    I got my h1b approved(3yrs) for client A in july while i was working on opt in the end of july i changed the project nd location to client B (same employer) and my h1b period starts from oct 1…. and my present client is giving just 6mnths of contract in client letter to file for an amendment..
    Will this reduce my 3yr h1 period when i file for amendment in oct 1st week??
    I am planning to travel india right after my amendment result,
    Can somebody please tell me what are the necessary steps to be taken for stamping when i visit to india?
    Any suggestions would be really helpfull !!
    Thanks .

    1. Jagath

      If you do not get RFE in first 6 months , there are more chances to get approved the extension directly.
      I wish your application will be approved since its already passed 6 months.

  5. URGENT

    H1B Expiry Date : Sept 5 2018
    I 94 Expiry Date : Sept 15 2018
    H1B Filed ( sent via Fedex ) : Sept 9th 2018

    USCIS Case Status : Case Received on Sept 12 2018 in PREMIUM

    In case petition is approved will I get I94 extension with I797 A or I will have to go for I797B Counselor Processing ?

  6. Appu

    I am a H1B physician who have completed CONRAD30 waiver. This makes me exempt from future H1B cap. I want to change employment to a new employer who is not a cap exempt entity.. Because I am a cap exempt subject, can I apply for premium processing? The notice does not address this situation. Any input appreciated. Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You may not be eligible for premium processing as you are changing employers. I suggest you check with an attorney as I am not familiar with CONRAD30 & J1 intricacies.

  7. Varun

    Hi Kumar,

    How many days would it ideally take for H1B Package shipment to USCIS?
    Does they consider package receival date? Coz mine is shipped on 8th September and not sure it was shipped before 11th September or not.

    Pls help me with the shipment info..

    Thanks

    1. Robinhood

      Me too in same boat. Will they really consider our package ship date or they will consider actual date when package will hit their mailbox ?

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Varun,
      It is upto the shipping company and how you have sent it. They consider the package received date at their USCIS facility, not the date you shipped.

    3. Robinhood

      Its upgraded to premium now.. Even though case status shows it was received after 12th but case is upgraded to premium .
      In Short this rule is something like they consider date when they received package

  8. Maddy

    Dear Kumar & Team,

    I have been following your Site for almost 4 years, and whenever I read the positive comments and experience that others share here I get a great relief, because I travel in the same boat as others “H1B”

    Thank You for all your expertise.

    I do see the article published by USCIS – USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions to Reduce Delays.

    I have a quick question to ask, It says Premium Processing Remains Available for Certain H-1B Petitions
    The suspension does not apply to:

    Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:
    Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted. (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129); or Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c. on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129).

    My Question

    I am currently working for Employer A and my VISA expires in 2019 May. My Extension will give me another 3 Years.

    There is no Change in my Employment and the Location, but for a Salary Change. This is a direct employment and no 3 Party Clients or Service Providers.

    Will my Extension be considered for Premium Processing with “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” as an option ?

    Many Thanks in Advance

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      🙂 Cheers !
      Technically, if your role and company is same and nothing else changes, in terms of your activities, then you should be eligible for the premium processing. You can check with your immigration attorney to be sure, if they would be checking that Box b on part 2.

        1. Dino

          Hi Kumar and team,

          I am almost in the same situation but only difference there is another vendor in this extension

          My Question

          I am currently working for Employer A and my VISA expires in 2019 March.

          There is no Change in my Employment and the Location, but only Change is vendor change. Will this effect filing my premium processing ?

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Even though, it is same employer and role, there is a change and it is probably considered as change in terms and you may not be able to file it as premium. You can double check with your immigration attorney on the same to clarify on how it was filed.

  9. Joel

    The company I work have applied for 2018 H1B and I have received approval notice on July, 2018. I applied for Change of status since I am in OPT and H1B will start OCT-01,2018. I am planing to travel to my home country(Ethiopia) on January. Is this going to affect me?

  10. Siva

    Hi,
    This is Siva. I am on H1B and current petition expiring by 1/16/2019. I am willing to change employer and i believe premium processing is suspended for H1B transfers also. Is this applicable for other processing centers such as Vermont?

      1. Robinhood

        Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:
        Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted. (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129); or
        Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c. on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129).

  11. concerned

    Will the premium processing be suspended past Feb too? I know no one know the answer to this question but i feel they might bring it back in Feb. Fingers crossed. I really need to change my job.

  12. Pravi

    Hi Can some one pls try to answer my Question.

    I am working with TCS. I moved to USA on Jan 2016 on H1B.
    I have applied for my first extension on April 16th 2018 – California Service center( WAC)
    My I-94 got Expired on June 2018.

    Still my case status shows Case Was Received.

    Am i eligible to upgrade to premium after Sep 11th?

    Can some one pls respond.

  13. Galen

    Hello,

    I am currently on OPT, I am currently working and I have a new job offer. I was wondering if I can work one W2 full time job and another contracting job simulatenously.

    Please advise if its legal. Thank you in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You may work for multiple employers on OPT, provided the work you do at both places is related to your degree. You should clarify and check with DSO on the same before you engage in any multiple employers employment to be sure.

  14. Robinhood

    H1B filed on 6th September 2018 for Premium processing. Now if packet is received by USCIS on or before 10th September – will this be eligible for premium ?
    – Will USCIS consider package sent date ( by us ) or package received date to consider it for premium ?

    Example : If my package was sent on 6th and received or opened by USCIS on 14th will it be still considered for Premium ?

  15. Pakk

    Hi Kumar,

    I already have my H1B approved till Mid 2019 and now i need to change employer. i.e H1B transfer. And i believe this is a cap-exempt since this is applied by the new employer without any cap restrictions for the year. Still confused if still premium processing suspension is going to effect this case? From above few comments i see that you mentioned that it effects transfer and changing employer is tough but transfers are nothing but cap-exempt( not the 65000+20000 slots ). Clarification on this would be of great help!!

  16. Amit

    My H1B extension was denied in Aug 2018 and I am currently in India. My employer is reapplying for my cap exempt extension for the same client and same role. Unfortunately they wont be able to file it before Sept 11, 2018 as LCA isn’t certified yet. So will it be possible to apply premium processing in my case if they file after Sept 11 2018 drom Nebraska center since there is no change in employer and role?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Yes, if everything is same and your employer selects option b in part 2 of I-129 as mentioned above. Check with your attorney as may vary by how they plan to file your petition as you had denial.

  17. A Citizen

    Sourabh
    for #3. You do not need the approval to start working for the new employer. Once you get the transfer receipt you can start working for. Even if you do not get approval/denial notice within 240 days after I94 expiry, you can still continue working for the new employer. H1b transfer is exempt from 240 day rule. So your best bet is change of employer unless you have enough time before your I94 expires.

    1. Changing employers

      Thanks but changing employer without the approval notice is kinda risky. isnt it?
      I am not in tech sector but still the way applications are being scrutinized you never know.

      1. samedwards

        changing employer without the approval notice is indeed risky in the current climate. Pretty sure the USCIS would try to make raise anything and everything as an RFE. It’s up to your employer to wait for you now.

  18. Krishna

    I am applying for H1 transfer under premium processing and my dependent’s passport has expired. I have attached passport renewal receipt, will I get RFE or be denied visa due to this?

    Please help with your suggestions.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You should not get denial just for that reason. Firstly, it is not your passport, secondly, it is very common to have passport expired. They may ask for new passport, you can work with attorney and submit the updated new passport once you get it.

  19. Pradeep

    I’m changing employer and employer B is yet to apply for transfer. Does this mean if my Employer B doesn’t apply via premium before 11th September then the chance of approval might go until 6months?
    Is my understanding correct, please help.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Yes, it may take 6 months or more, we cannot tell it will take that much time…you may get lucky and get adjudicated early as well.

      1. Pradeep

        Thanks much Kumar, This site is one place where i can rely on the content. Great work and thanks for helping millions.

        One quick question, My new employer might withdraw my offer as it will take 4 to 6 months in regular processing. They just filed the LCA last evening and today they want to withdraw the offer 🙁
        I work for a large corp, however my new employer is a startup product company with good funding in place and this is their 1st H1B petition.
        can you suggest whether I should join on the receipt or accept the rejection of my offer from my new employer?

        Please suggest.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          🙂 Cheers !
          You have only one option to work right ? It is hard for me to give a generic advice as you need to make a conscious decision based on the company and your status. Think through all the options, speak to the immigration lawyer who would process your H1B and make a decision.

      1. ap

        Hi Kumar,
        I have similar kind of query.
        My H1B extension was denied in Aug 2018 and I returned to India as 94 was expired. My employer is re-applying for my cap exempt extension for the same client and same role. Unfortunately they wont be able to file it before Sept 11, 2018 as New LCA hasn’t recieved yet.
        So will it be possible to apply premium processing in my case if they file after Sept 11 2018 from Nebraska center since there is no change in employer and role?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Technically, yes, if everything is same and your employer selects option b in part 2 of I-129 as mentioned above. They will need to put in details of the denial in I-129 and also the consulate info in your country, where your petition decision has to be informed, so that you can apply for visa in that place. Check with your attorney.

  20. CPTer

    Hi all,
    I saw all you in OPT, anyone in CPT.
    Kuma said: “F1 Students in Cap Gap – OPT : International students on F1 visa and in OPT Cap gap with no H1B approval by October 1st need to stop working after September 30th”

    Does it mean CPT in another region, and CPTer can continue to work?
    Thank for your time

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      CPT is different from OPT students working in cap gap. do not get confused. It does not impact CPT holders on F1 visa status and in school and you can continue to work.

  21. Gaurav

    Excellent information as always 🙂

    I received a RFE on my H1B transfer petition (it was filed using premium processing); The attorneys will be responding to the RFE after Sept. 11th; So my question is – Will USCIS adjudicate the RFE Response using premium processing (considering the H1B transfer was filed with premium processing) or will they not honor the premium processing for the RFE?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Well, usually they would honor premium processing, but if their load exceeds they may refund the fee and it is up to their discretion.

  22. Help

    So changing employers is out of question until Feb? Unless the employer is ready to wait until the petition is approved which might be almost 6 months?

    1. A Citizen

      H1B transfer has no 240 day rule, so once you have the receipt you can start working for the new employer and can continue working even after 240 days past I 94 expiration. You don’t have to wait for approval , so go ahead and initiate the transfer and you can start working as soon as you get the receipt in hand.

  23. Pranav

    My application is was selected in the lottery but and I am waiting for approval (replied to RFE). Since cap-gap expires on Sept 30th, can one work in another country till the approval comes through?

    Is there any problem leaving the country while H1B is being processed other than needing visa stamping for entry?

    1. worried

      Pranav, I am in the same boat as you. I also got an RFE. They lawyers are preparing the response and am anxious about the wait since I wont be able to work past Sep 30. Did you hear back from the RFE? When did you respond? I just want to know how long it typically takes to get a response and from what I have been reading it seems it might be 80+ days which has me very worried.

  24. Anand

    Hi Kumar and everyone, My H1b visa is going to expire on Sep 30th. I have raised a non-premium extension. Am i eligible to upgrade it to premium after sep 11th.

    Thanks in advance

  25. Sourabh

    Hi There,
    Thank You for the post. This is much needed information. I have few queries. Any advice/suggestion is highly appreciated.

    My H1-B Visa is going to expire on 9th September 2018. My employer applied for H1-B extension on 1st June 2018. Then I wanted to go to India, so I asked my employer to change the case to PREMIUM which they did on 13th July 2018. I received RFE on this case and my RFE response date is 19th October 2018.
    I am still in US and waiting for the H1-B approval. But now this Premium Processing suspension creates more issues in my case.

    So my queries are :-
    1)Consider if we respond to RFE after 1st October 2018, Am I still eligible for PREMIUM PROCESSING as my case was PREMIUM earlier. OR it will be considered as REGULAR petition?
    (Premium Processing is getting suspended from 11th September 2018 to 19th February 2019)

    2) If the above answer is NO, that means do I have respond on or before 11th September 2018 to take the leverage of PREMIUM PROCESSING?

    3) Is it advisable to do Employer transfer(H1-B transfer) at this stage? Do the new employer requires APPROVED H1-B Petition.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      1. Yes, you will be eligible for premium as it was originally filed. But, USCIS may also refund money and put it in normal, if they cannot adjudicate on time within 15 days.
      2. Yes, very likely. After September 11th, they have put in a clause at end saying that they may refund money, if they cannot adjudicate within 15 days.
      3. Well, you may, but it is better to wait for the approval notice before you start as the timeline can be long and if something goes wrong, then your status can be in trouble.

      1. A Citizen

        Sourabh
        for #3. You do not need the approval to start working for the new employer. Once you get the transfer receipt you can start working for. Even if you do not get approval/denial notice within 240 days after I94 expiry, you can still continue working for the new employer. H1b transfer is exempt from 240 day rule. So your best bet is change of employer unless you have enough time before your I94 expires.

  26. Will

    Hello, so I got pick in the 2018 H1B and I’m currently on cap-gap as my OPT ended at the end of May. So will I still have time and eligible to apply for premium processing?
    When I checked my case status, it’s been saying “case received” since the beginning of June.
    Please let me know.
    Thank you in advance

    1. samedwards

      As a fellow cap-gaper, we can’t do premium processing, as it entails a change of status. Only people in same status extending their visas can do so by sending it to Nebraska by September 11.

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Assuming you applied this year in April…if so, no, you are not eligible for premium processing as it is not available for cap subject petitions.

  27. Waiting

    My STEM OPT has expired and I havent got my approval for H1B.After November 30 can I stay in the country to hear back on the application.Does contacting a senator help in expediting the application ?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      I am assuming you are in cap gap and you meant Sep 30. Yes, you can stay, but cannot work. Well, it may help increase the gravity of the situation and impact so that something is raised with USCIS/ Senate to take further action.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          You will be in F1 visa grace period of 60 days until Nov 30th. After that, you are in period of authorized stay until your petition is adjudicated…If your petition get denied for some reason you will start accruing unlawful status from the day of the decision. So, it is a tricky situation…

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Yes, but you carry the risk as well of the denial…You technically are not on F1 status, but on authorized stay with pending decision from USCIS.

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Everything depends on the case and your case history. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to tell that…If I say something without knowing your case, it is like shooting in the dark !

          3. Sam Whittaker

            Kumar “if your petition get denied for some reason you will start accruing unlawful status from the day of the decision. So, it is a tricky situation…” This is not true. Person starts accruing unlawful presence from Dec 1st in this case

          4. administrator
            Kumar

            Sam,
            The context of that accrual is after Nov 30th, if someone is still in US after Nov 30th waiting for the decision. It is probably not explicitly written, but you are right, it happens only after Dec 1st.

  28. Rasool

    Hi There,
    Mine is H1B -2016 cap. I am yet to travel to US. I had applied for Amendment early 2018 and it received RFE. The RFE was responded on July. Will I be able to convert my case to Premium before Sept 11 2018 (or is it eligible post Sept 11 also)

  29. Kumar

    Hi There,
    Mine is H1B -2016 cap. I am yet to travel to US. I had applied for Amendment early 2018 and it received RFE. The RFE was responded on July. Will I be able to convert my case to Premium before Sept 11 2018 (or is it eligible post Sept 11 also)

  30. vivs

    My H1B is expired in July’2018 and moved to F2 and waiting for I140 approval.
    I am not expecting it to be approved before 11th Sept’2018.

    I have following queries.

    1. Can I apply for H1B extension in premium processing with “continuation of previously approved employment without any change with the same employer ” ?

    2. If I can’t apply for H1B extension with premium processing then can I work on H1B extension receipt (F2 to H1B COS)?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      1. You may not be eligible for premium after Sept 11th, as you are on F2 and not in H1B, technically you are doing a COS and not extending. You can double check with your attorney.
      2. You may not be able to work as you will be on F2 visa and not on work visa, until the COS is approved. You can check with your attorney to be sure.

  31. Suja_U

    I am on F1 right now and my STEM OPT expires today, but because of my H1B petition, I am on cap-gap for another 30 days. I understand that I will need to stop working on 9/30, but I’m hearing a lot of rumors on various sites where applicants are thinking of leaving the country if they do not receive a case response by November end, and wait for a decision. Why is there a need to leave the country when your visa is “in process”? Please advise

    1. sammyedwards

      Because if your visa is rejected after the 60 day grace period, you will have to leave the country immediately the next day. Otherwise, you could risk a potential ban from visiting the country for 3 years when you apply for the visa again.

      1. Suja

        Does this change if I apply for h4 and h4 EAD before my cap gap expires? In that case my h4 would still be in process even If my H1B doesnt have any updates/ worst case gets a denial. Please advise

        1. sammyedwards

          Yes, you can stay in the country then, but you won’t be able to work until you get your H4 EAD. Similarly, you could convert to F1 visa and continue living in the country, but you can’t legally work then.

  32. VK

    Hi,

    I have an H1B transfer pending with an RFE. This transfer has initially been processed under premium processing. Will submitting the RFE response after Sept 11 result in losing the premium processing?

    Also, I have started at company B on the receipt but my company A has not revoked my petition and would prefer me to join them back. Do I have to leave the country and come back on new I94 to rejoin company A? or can I just go back? Will any of this cause any issues in the future?

    Thank you

  33. Varun

    Hi Kumar,
    My h1b got expired this year January before travelling to US. Now my company is preparing to file new h1b petition under cap exempt and premium..so will this new rule have any impact on my case?? Or can I still go for premium? Please throw some light on this query…
    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Varun,
      You can file for premium before Sept 11th as your case does not qualify for part 2, option b on I-129 form. After Sept 11th, you cannot use premium processing until Feb next year.

  34. Biswa

    Hi Kumar,

    My petition is of in-cap 2016 and approved till July 2019. Visa is stamped and I am yet to travel. But situation has changed and a amendment is required to be filed for a new client now.

    So is the premium processing restriction is applicable to my case too? Kindly help!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Biswa,
      You may not be eligible for premium processing as it is considered change and you will not be using the listed option in Part 2. See i-129 Instructions page 22: “Use this Form I-129 when the beneficiary is physically present in the United States and a change of status, concurrent employment, or an extension of stay is needed. Note: The beneficiary must be maintaining lawful status in the United States to remain eligible for the benefit sought.”

  35. Ali

    Hello Kumar and everyone.my h1b was picked in lottery but it is still pending as case was received. Can I still expect rfe? It’s September now and fy starts from oct 1st.my opt is valid till Feb 19..would appreciate if u update on this.thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ali,
      Well, we do not know, if you will get RFE. Just delayed does not mean you will get RFE, you just need to wait for USCIS to come back with update…

  36. Sachin

    Hi Kumar,

    Good blog, has excellent information.
    My question is while my H1 has been picked up in lottery, it was filed by a consulting company. The third party location where I am working at wants to hire me full time now. Can I switch companies while the final result of H1 is still pending? Or is it safer to wait till I have received the final H1 result.

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sachin,
      🙂 , You need H1B approval to transfer. Also, transfer before October 1st can be tricky, there were RFEs in the past…speak to an immigration attorney, if you are in really dire need to switch before Oct 1st to understand full implications.

      1. Sachin Malhotra

        Thanks Kumar, I am on my OPT and that is valid till June-19.Sorry forgot to add that while asking the initial question.

  37. Lakshman

    My h1b got expired this year January before travelling to US. Now my company is preparing to file new h1b petition under cap exempt and premium..so will this new rule have any impact on my case?? Or can I still go for premium? Please throw some light on this query…
    Thanks in advance

  38. Nishant Kumar

    Hi Kumar,

    My H1B was filed in 2014 and have been extended also once in 2017 which i got till 2019.

    Can i do a change in employer on premium as i do not fall in 2019 cap?

    Nishant

  39. Sam

    Hi Admin

    I think there is a modified memo regarding this:

    “Unlawful presence Memo – F1 Students : As you know, there are new guidelines by USCIS on how they look at F1 students Unlawful Presence after Aug 9th, 2018 , you need to extremely careful of your status and stay in US as 180 day mark for Unlawful status will hit by Feb 4th, 2019 and if your petition is denied for a reason that is due to unauthorized activity, you may be accumulating unlawful presence retroactively from August 9th and maybe facing 3 year bar( cannot get visa ) to enter US.”

    Please check out this site:
    “https://www.nafsa.org/Professional_Resources/Browse_by_Interest/International_Students_and_Scholars/Accrual_of_Unlawful_Presence_and_F,_J,_and_M_Nonimmigrants/”

    In the section: Reinstatement

    The major difference between the May 11, 2018 draft memo and the August 9, 2018 final memo relates to the effect of filing an application for reinstatement.

    Under the May 11 draft, if USCIS denied an F or M reinstatement application, the unlawful presence count would have related back to the original status violation that necessitated the reinstatement application; there was not “tolling” (pause) of the unlawful presence count while the application was pending.
    Under the August 9, 2018 final guidance, unlawful presence is not counted (i.e., the count is tolled, which means, suspended) during the period that a timely-filed F or M reinstatement application is pending. To be considered “timely” for this purpose, the reinstatement application would have to be filed within 5 months of the status violation. If USCIS ultimately denies a timely-filed application for reinstatement, the unlawful presence clock will start (or restart) as of the date USCIS denies the reinstatement. There is no tolling provision that covers the time that a J-1 reinstatement application is pending with the Department of State.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Hi Sam,
      I am not talking about re-instatement. I am talking about where USCIS may look at employment by F1 student on OPT that may be categorised as unauthorised activity. Check Official USCIS Memo , Page 4 that reads like below.
      “An F, J, or M nonimmigrant begins accruing unlawful presence, due to a failure to maintain his
      or her status10 on or after August 9, 2018, on the earliest of any of the following:
      • The day after the F, J, or M nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or the
      authorized activity, or the day after he or she engages in an unauthorized activity;”

      1. Sam

        So does that means this doesn’t apply h1b extension??

        If someone has pending h1b extension with expired i-94, they still accrue unlawful presence from the day of expired i-94?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Yes, it is only for F1.
          If you have filed before I-94 expiry, you are fine. Check USCIS FAQ

          “Even though you are not actually in a lawful nonimmigrant
          status, you do not accrue “unlawful presence” for purposes of
          inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and
          Nationality Act, while your extension of status application is pending
          if it was filed prior to the expiration of your Form I-94.”

  40. 4thtimer

    Hi Kumar,

    I have applied my H1B in 2019 CAP and was selected in lottery and already approved on 11 July 2018
    Now I have offer for full time job opportunity.
    My question to you, Can I go for Premium processing for my H1B petition transfer.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Yes, before Sept 11th. But, your option of doing transfer before being on H1B status has raised many RFEs in the past and I suggest you speak to an immigration attorney before you do that as it can be tricky.

  41. Jawad

    Hi Kumar,

    I have couple of questions?

    If i m working for the same Employer, and Applying for an H1B extension with no change of the project (client). Am i eligible for the premium process??

    It doesn’t depends on where my employer is located?? All the above mentioned type of applications are directed to Nebraska Center?

    lets say if i m working in Massachusetts i come under Vermont center right? But if i am applying for an extension like I mentioned above, My applications were to Nebraska instead of Vermont ??

    Appreciate your response , Thank you

  42. Ugly Bob

    Sucks, difficult to change jobs on h-1b now all year round.

    Whoever is working on h-1b now in a position they don’t like, are paid peanuts or getting laid off are screwed now.

  43. Sunil

    Hi Kumar,

    Please clarify on below.

    I have applied H1B (Regular processing) this year and picked in lottery , On July2nd 2018, I received automated SMS & email from USCIS saying that “On July 2nd 2018, we mailed a notice requesting evidence/information for this case….etc..etc…”

    Again I received similar message & email saying “On July 8, 2018, we mailed a notice requesting evidence/information for this case….etc…etc
    What does that mean? Did they issued two different RFEs on those dates? or same RFE twice?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sunil,
      It could be a system issue to give you multiple alerts, not sure. Usually, one RFE is given and then processing is on hold until attorney responds. Not sure, if your attorney responded with something quickly in a week and then they sent another RFE for something else…very unlikely… Check with your immigration attorney/ employer to clarify.

      1. Sunil

        Thanks Kumar for response.
        I created account in USCIS and checked case history it was same in the history as i got the alert messages. If my attorney responded quickly for first RFE then there should be another message for first RFE like “Response to USCIS request was received” but this is missing in the history. Anyway i will check with my attorney as suggested just want to check with you if you experienced any such case.

  44. Nick

    I got my PERM approved and waiting for i-140 approval. After I-140 I need to file for H1B Extension, will this premium processing suspension also be applicable to my case. I am not changing any employer or anything.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Nick,
      If nothing changes, you should be eligible. If everything is same and your employer would choose the option b in part 2 of I-129 form as shown in above article, you can do premium processing. You can check with your employer/ attorney on this topic, if they would select that option on I-129, then you can be sure.

  45. Raja

    My extension was upgraded to premium in July 27th and was issued a RFE on Aug 10th. My company will be filing RFE response in two weeks. Probably after September 11. Will my RFE response gets processed in premium – 15 days!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Technically your petition was filed under Premium Processing, once you respond, it should be adjudicated with premium processing timelines of 15 days…

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