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