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USCIS Premium Processing 2020 News – Open for H1B, I-140[Sep 2020]

As most of you know USCIS provides Premium Processing for many types of petitions like H1B, L1, etc., including I-140 petitions that guarantees a decision from USCIS in 15 days. Earlier this year, USCIS suspended Premium Processing for FY 2021 H1B, including cap exempt petitions and I-140 petitions. Today, USCIS announced that they plan to resume Premium processing for both H1B and other petitions like I-140 in phases. We will look at all these details in this article.

Summary of USCIS Premium Processing News for H1B, I-140

USCIS plans to resume premium processing in phases for I-129 and I-140 forms that is used by H1B and Green Card processing applicants. Below is the summary of the press release by USCIS.

  • I-140 Petitions from June 1st: USCIS will accept premium processing for all eligible I-140 petitions from June 1st, 2020. I-140 form is filed by Green Card applicants as part of the overall Green Card process.
  • Cap Exempt H1Bs Filed before June 8th: All cap exempt H1B petitions that were filed before June 8th and pending with USCIS will be eligible for premium processing upgrade starting from June 8th, 2020.  H1B Cap exempt includes applicants that were counted towards cap in the past such as H1B transfers, extensions and amendment.  It also includes petitions filed by H1B cap exempt employers like higher education institutions, nonprofit research orgs, etc.
  • All other I-129 Form Applicants like L1, E1, E2, O-1, etc. filed before June 8th :  I-129 form is used by many other visa types besides H1B, such as L1A, L1B, E1, E2, O1, etc. All such petitions that were filed with USCIS before June 8th and pending with USCIS are eligible for premium processing upgrade from June 8th, 2020.
  • H1B Cap Exempt – Higher Education Orgs, Non-Profit Research – Jun 15th : USCIS indicated that starting from June 15th, 2020, all employers that qualify for H1B cap exempt, because they are an educational institution or nonprofit research organization, etc. will be eligible to file premium processing requests concurrently with their H1B petition. It includes Conrad/IGA Waiver category as well.
  • H1B FY 2021 Cap Subject Petitions, COS and Consular Processing: Starting from June 22nd, USCIS will accept premium processing for all H1B cap subject petitions, that includes previous years or current H1B FY 2021 season.  It applies to both H1B Change of Status  and Consular Processing petitions.
  • Subject to Changes Clause : USCIS indicated at the end that these dates maybe subject to change due to the situations and they will update everyone, if any.

If we were to summarize in a table, it would look like below.


USCIS Premium Processing Available for Category

June 1st, 2020

All I-140 Petitions (Green Card related)

June 8th, 2020

Cap Exempt H1Bs (Transfers, Amendments, Extensions) filed before Jun 8th and Pending with USCIS

June 8th, 2020

Cap Exempt H1Bs that are filed by Higher Education, Non-profit research orgs, etc. filed before June 8th and pending with USCIS.

June 8th, 2020

All Form I-129 petitions ( L1, E1, E2, O1, etc.) filed before June 8th, pending with USCIS

June 15th, 2020

Cap Exempt H1Bs that are filed by Higher Education, Non-profit research orgs, etc. to file Premium Processing Concurrently with their H1B petition.

June 22nd , 2020

All H1B Cap Subject Petitions FY 2020, FY 2021 (COS, Consular Processing).

June 22nd, 2020

All other form I-129 petitions that are eligible for Premium processing. Technically, it includes all I-129 petitions filed after June 8th, 2020.  

USCIS Disclaimer – These dates maybe subject to change, so need to keep an eye on their website.

It is a sigh of relief for many waiting for decisions from USCIS. Many H1B holders have not been able to even change jobs because of lack of premium processing. Hopefully USCIS does not change the above dates…

What do you think of the USCIS Premium Processing opening up now ? Your thoughts ? Share in comments.

Reference : USCIS Official Alert


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  1. We have received an RFE and are preparing documents to response to it. I was wondering to upgrade my application from Regular to Premium process.

    Do you think it is good time to do so? Should I have to wait till we mail out RFE documents? or Can I send premium application along with RFE?

  2. If the i140 receipt number is SRCXXXXXX, does that indicate which service center is petition sent to?

    As in if its SRC its sent to Nebraska or if its WAC then its sent to Texas or something like that?

      • Thanks. My receipt number is SRCXXXXX for i140 application which is Texas.
        Now Texas service center processing time is 9 to 12 months but Nebraska center processing time is 5-7 months. Why so much difference? Will they send the applications from Texas to Nebraska to normalize the processing time or going premium would be better.

        • Mr. Wonderful,
          It is because of the case distribution by states. Sometimes, they do…but not always. going premium is better, you get the response soon.

          • Is USCIS taking longer than usual in premium processing the applications? Today will be the 15th calendar day for my i140 petition. Can we reach out to USCIS to get the status of the application if they have not processed within 15 calendar day?

          • Mr. Wonderful,
            Yes, you can reach out to them. They will refund the money. You should factor in about 2 days margin.. Talk to your attorney.

  3. During that week that started on 06/15, did USCIS really resume premium processing as planned for certain petitions?
    June 15th, 2020
    Cap Exempt H1Bs that are filed by Higher Education, Non-profit research orgs, etc. to file Premium Processing Concurrently with their H1B petition.
    If not, has the USCIS published any updates to the resumption dates for premium processing?
    Thank you!!!

  4. Hi Kumar,

    Any update for Chennai consulate ..?
    When it will resume for interviews and visa stamping or by approx when can be expect to open(like september or october)

  5. Dear Kumar & Team,

    Thank You for all your effort on answering questions of many Aspiring Immigrants like me. I do have a question about I-140 Process.

    I have an Approved I-140 from Employer-A that was approved in September 1, 2018 and I recently joined Employer-B last month. I was in the Impression that when I join Employer-B, The Whole I-140 Process needs to be initiated again.

    However, when I contacted my Employer-B Attorney I was given an explanation that since I have an approved I-140 a priority dated of September 1, 2018 and it is likely that it will take over 10 years before my priority date becomes current in the current situation. In order to complete the green card process when my priority date becomes current, I’ll need an approved PERM and I-140 for the position you will hold when you receive your green card.

    At this rate it is more likely going to take a long time before my priority date becomes current, there is no reason to do a PERM and I-140 now because these filings will only be helpful in the event that I am working in the same job and physical location when my priority date becomes current 10+ years from now.

    Instead of spending time / money and effort on a PERM and I-140 now, It is better to wait until my priority date is close to being reached and then do a PERM and I-140 through my current employer at that time.

    Any Thoughts and Suggestions / Comments are highly appreciated.

    Thank You

    • Vedha,
      What your attorney said is true…You retain the priority date, if your I-140 is approved and not withdrawn before 180 days.
      Some employers do it, but you can wait too…You may wait to look and see if some new bill passes or something as such in the next few years….
      Once your have I-140 valid, you are free to transfer and get extensions based on that…So, you are fine with your current situation…

  6. Following are the current I-140 processing times in Texas service center:

    Estimated time range
    Form type
    Receipt date for a case inquiry
    11 Months to 14.5 Months Extraordinary ability (E11) April 11, 2019
    5.5 Months to 7.5 Months Outstanding professor or researcher (E12) November 08, 2019
    6.5 Months to 8.5 Months Multinational executive or manager (E13) October 08, 2019
    10 Months to 12.5 Months Advanced degree or exceptional ability (E21) June 04, 2019
    5.5 Months to 7.5 Months Skilled worker or professional (E31; E32) November 08, 2019

    Under which category does EB2 petition with Masters degree fall? E21 or E31:E32?

  7. I have sent the request to change from Normal to premium processing on 8th June. Mine is L1B and i responded to RFE on april 22nd. There has been no status change to reflect they accepting premium processing now. What Should I do now.

  8. Thanks for the details. Does this type include H1B transfer with an approved I-140 to be resumed on June 22nd?
    “ All other form I-129 petitions that are eligible for Premium processing. Technically, it includes all I-129 petitions filed after June 8th, 2020. “

  9. Hello,
    Did anyone receive any update in their case status online after submitting to upgrade to premium for I140? My package was delivered to Texas center on June 3, but no status change yet. Will we see an update in the case status online for upgrade? Technically from when is the premium clock counted?

    • Deepthi,
      it will take few days for them to document it and then generate receipt. So, give it few days. It starts from the day your receipt notice is generated. Your attorney will get email once the receipt is generated.

      • Kumar, Thanks for getting back. I initially applied for I140 in normal processing and got the receipt number. Now I upgraded to premium last week and don’t see any case status change yet.

        • Deepthi,
          Give it some time. talk to your attorney on this, they can reach out to the USCIS customer service to follow up.

          • There is still no change in my status. My attorney let me know today that check hasn’t been cashed yet. Any idea what’s wrong? Have you seen such cases before?

          • Deepthi,
            Sometimes, the processing at the physical location can be delayed. Maybe your employer or attorney can contact the premium processing support email or phone number and follow up.

  10. Folks, don’t be so desperate, times are gonna pretty roughhere, with whats happening around. Though you have a project now, clients are pushing for quick deliveries or so many are on hold, and new projects are in scarce. Smart thing to do is stay wherever you are, and excel in your fields. Even if you come here, try to have some fallback options ready, and don’t burden yourself with liabilities. It is not end of the world, stay safe and do your part by saving those for struggling students, H4s do your part as well.

  11. Is it “All H1B Cap Subject Petitions FY 2020, FY 2021” which are submitted for the premium processing or is it also for non premium too ?

    • SR,
      The statement is only applicable to avail premium processing, if you want to from that day. It is not automatic for anyone.

  12. Thanks for the update.
    Any news on when mumbai consulate will resume interviews and visa stamping for COS . Also will the preference be given to folks who already had their interviews scheduled prior to lock down?
    Thanks in advance..

  13. Such a wonderful news. I was in midst of Job transfer when USCIS stopped the premium processing and had to decline that offer. Hopefully the employer would be willing to restart the process so i can transfer.


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