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.
What’s your view on the earlier opening of premium processing ?
You may read Official USCIS Press Release