USCIS Suspends Premium Processing for H-1B Visas


Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer March 18, 2020
USCIS office

​March 20 Update: All premium processing has been suspended pending further notice.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is postponing its premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject visas until the end of May.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

Two-Phased Return

As the agency has done in the past, premium processing—which allows employers to pay extra to have their visa petitions decided faster—will resume in two phases in order to best manage overall volume.

USCIS will resume premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions no later than May 27 for those petitioners requesting a change of status for students with F-1 visas. Fast-track service will resume for all other cap-subject H-1B petitions by June 29.


Becoming Routine

USCIS has suspended premium processing for H-1B cap petitions in years past to reduce overall H-1B processing times. The agency paused the service in April 2018 and 2019, during what's known as the start of H-1B cap-filing season.

(SHRM Online)

The H-1B Visa Filing Process Is Different This Year

For the first time, USCIS is holding an electronic preregistration period from March 1-20, during which employers can submit online registrations to be selected for the H-1B lottery, sparing them from having to prepare and file full petitions before knowing the results of the lottery.

The change was made to simplify the visa filing process and cut costs for employers, because only those randomly selected from the registration pool will be eligible to file petitions.

(SHRM Online)


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