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USCIS News: Premium Processing Resumes for H1B 2019 Cap Petitions

As you all know, USCIS has suspended premium processing for H1B visa 2019 petitions until Feb 19, 2019. Earlier today, USCIS announced in a press note that they are opening up premium processing for certain petitions from next week. Below is the summary.

H1B Premium Processing Resumes for FY 2019 Petitions – News Summary

Below is short summary of the announced news from USCIS on the premium processing of H1B petitions.

  • H1B Premium Processing Resumed : Premium Processing is resumed on Jan 28th, 2019 for all H1B Visa 2019 Cap subject petitions that are in pending state from H1B Lottery from April 2018..  H1B Premium processing is resumed for both Regular and Masters Quota Petitions filed under FY 2019 cap quota.
  • H1B RFE & Premium Processing : If any of the FY 2019 H1B cap petitions received RFE ( Request for Evidence), then employers planning to expedite their petition to Premium processing, need to submit the RFE response along with the premium processing request.
  • Premium Processing Fee Refunds : USCIS will refund the premium processing fee, if they do not adjudicate the petition within 15 days. Let’s say, they miss 15 day deadline, they will refund of fee, but will still continue to process the petition in expedited manner. Refund does not mean, it goes back to regular processing. It is just refund for not meeting the premium processing SLA.
  • Premium Processing Suspended for Other Categories : The premium processing suspension is only open for H1B 2019 cap subject petitions, but still in suspended state for other categories as per original press release until Feb 19, 2019.  Below are the categories for which Premium Processing is still suspended.
    • H1B Visa Extensions with changes
    • H1B Visa Transfer Petitions
    • H1B Amendments with Changes
  • Summary – Premium Processing available for below petitions now :
    • H1B Visa 2019 Cap Subject Petitions – Regular Quota, Masters Quota
    • H1B Visa Cap Exempt Petitions filed by higher education institutions, government research entities, and some qualified non-profit orgs that file petitions at California Service Center
    • H1B Extensions without any changes at Nebraska Service Center.
  • USCIS mentions that they will update the availability of premium processing for other categories once the work load of their agency permits.
  • You can watch the below short video as well on the news update.

In general, if you have applied for H1B Transfer to New Employer and waiting for the premium processing to open, so that you can upgrade, you still have time and nothing to worry. Technically, you can work with H1B Pending for up to 240 days from the H1B receipt date. If you were to file it around September 10th, 2018, which is when the premium processing was suspended, you can work till May 8th, 2019.

Also, for the H1B Visa 2020 season,  with the proposed New H1B Pre-Registration for Rule for Lottery,  it will be interesting to see, how the premium processing will be handled. USCIS has suspended premium processing in the past few years to handle workloads well…but, it may be different for FY 2020, we just need to wait and see.

Update : USCIS opened up H1B Premium Processing for all petitions filed on or before Dec 21, 2018

What’s your view on the earlier opening of premium processing ?

You may read Official USCIS Press Release 


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  1. My status is “Case was Received” from April 29,2019. Its been 4 months, any idea if premium process is going to stop this year.

  2. Hi All,

    My visa is getting expired on Sep 14, 2019.

    Please note:
    1. I got the stamping last year April 2018 but I didnt travel to US because my employer was not having projects for me.
    2. I have tried tranferring the visa (premium) from India but companies are not willing to do the transfer.

    What are my options?

    1. I cant travel to USA in the near future ?
    2. If I can travel to USA ? How its possible ? I’m worried. Please help.


    • 1. You can, if you apply for new visa using the transfer petition after Sept 14, 2019.
      2. You need to find a new employer to sponsor H1B as cap exempt and then use that to get stamping and travel to US.

      • Thank you, Kumar.

        Cap exempt questions:

        1. To eligible for cap exempt, I need to have a degree (M.S) from US ?
        2. Only non-profit organisations can file for h1b cap exempt ?
        3. One stupid question: How can I find cap exempt employers ?

        • 1. No need, in your case, you have previous H1B stamping done. That’s what is used for cap exempt
          2. Yes, that is another eligibility for cap exempt…but it does not apply to you.
          3. In your case, your H1B will be filed as cap exempt. What it means is that you do not have to go through lottery. Technically any company can sponsor H1B for you using your previous H1B petition for eligibility for cap exempt.

  3. Today is June 24, 2019. Is Premium Processing is still suspended for H-1B visa transfers?
    My attorney has not submitted my application to USCIS yet. Can I apply for a Premium process to transfer my H1B visa?
    I got a job offer from a place in Washington DC. Where is the right center to send the documents to?


  4. Hi,

    I filed H1B this year, i am still waiting for the results, my attorney hasnt recieved anything yet, do you think there is still hope for premium petitions?

    Also i have a situation here, my OPT is expiring on may 14th 2019, i am doing my masters in a university and applying for CPT, university asked me to transfer sevis by may 3rd, but the question here is – wouldn’t i lose OPT if i transfer the sevis already, if H1B gets picked after i transfer, how do i handle the situation as i will not be on OPT?

    • Yes, till May 20th.

      You get cap gap extension until June 1st, for just filing the petition. If not reflected in SEVIS, you can request your DSO to update it by providing proof that your application was submitted.
      If you are doing Masters now, are you using pre-completion OPT ? Your situation is slightly confusing…If you are already doing Masters on F1 visa, what is there to transfer ? How was your H1B filed COS or Consular processing…

  5. Hi,
    i have my h1b petition approved in oct’2016.
    but i never got stamping on my h1b petition( since 2016). now my petition is about to expire by may 31’2019.
    Now, can i file for cap exemption?


  6. Hi Kumar,

    I got the stamping on April 2018 but my employer came up and told me that they don’t have any projects and they told me to look for visa transfer option.

    1. I know premium processing of visa transfer started from 19 Feb 2019 onwards. Am I eligible for visa transfer ?
    2. I’m having visa validity till Sep 2019. Let’s say I didn’t travel to USA this year (2019). Am I eligible for cap-exempt ? What exactly is the cap-exempt process ?
    3. Or in other words, I can travel to USA in next year (2020) once I find my new employer who can help with visa transfer ?


  7. I am being held in my career due to this country’s immigration policy. This is not why i came here. Is there a legit forum like this for immigration to singapore/canada?

  8. I have my previously approved H1b up for extension. This is with the same employer for the same employment. However, I have new LCA due to change in work location(office moved) and ‘small increase’ in pay based on performance.
    Is my case eligible for premium processing?
    Thank you

  9. My petition is approved on 15 Nov 2018 and due to lesser petition validity i did not go for stamping. Can i apply for H1B cap exemption premium processing which is opened now?

  10. What are FY 19 H1 Cap Petitions, Can this premium processing be used for the previously approved i797 petition for change of employer/transfer outside of the US?

  11. My Employer had filed for H1B FY 2019 cap. On October 09, 2018, USCIS received my RFE ersponse. Can my employer file for premium processing for my case now?

  12. I had filed for H1B transfer in Oct’18. Does the H1B premium processing apply to me? or is it only for original pending H1B lottery results from 2018?



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