As of today (Feb 15, 2019) – USCIS Resume Premium Processing for Petitions Filed On or Before Dec 21, 2018.
You may recall that USCIS had suspended Premium Processing for H1B Visa petitions since April 2, 2018, for H-1B petitions filed under H1B Visa 2019 Cap until Sep 10, 2018.
USCIS resumed Premium Processing from Jan 28, 2019, for FY 2019 cap-subject petitions.
Around August 2018, USCIS made another announcement.
- Jan 25, 2019 – USCIS announced today that Premium Processing for H1B Visa 2019 cap-subject petitions will resume from Jan 28, 2019.
- Feb 15, 201 – USCIS announced premium processing is available for all H1B applications filed on or before Dec 21, 2018
As of today (Jan 25, 2019), availability of Premium Processing for H1B Visa petitions looks as follows.
You may recall that, once the H1B Visa Petition is filed, applicants can continue to work up to 240 days after the petition filed with USCIS while the decision is pending.
H1B Visa Transfer to New Employer:
- Premium Processing is still suspended
- You can continue to work up to 240 days from the receipt date
- 240 days from Sep 10, 2018 comes to May 9, 2019
What about applicants on cap-gap?
If you are on cap-gap, then you should fall under FY 2019 cap.
If you have been waiting on USCIS for H1B Visa approval, today’s announcement is welcome news, right?
H1B Visa applicants on Cap-Gap status can work until Sep 30, 2018
You may wonder, what happens after Oct 1, 2018.
You should have stopped working (you better have!).
And then you would have to wait until the H-1B Visa is approved.
Your attorney should be able to upgrade to premium by filing the additional fee, along with the I-907 form.
If there was an RFE, you could upgrade to premium processing while submitting the response to the RFE.
I could see you dancing as you read this news!
Upgrade to H1B Visa Premium Processing?
You should consult your employer’s Immigration Attorney.
Some attorney would recommend your employer to upgrade.
Some employer would ask you to pay for the Premium Processing, while others would bear the cost of upgrading to Premium Processing.
Some attorney would think that sticking with Regular Processing is a better idea to deal with RFE.
And your attorney might thin, it’s easier to prove your RFE with a USCIS officer who deals with Premium Processing.
So, there’s no right or wrong answer here and you have to discuss with your employer and attorney.
Extension of Status (Same Employer):
Premium Processing is available for extension of H1B Visa status if there is no change to employment (like job duties, an increase or decrease in hours or new job title, etc).
In other words, premium processing was not suspended at all for you folks! So, no dance moves for you all.
You should save the moves for your Priority Dates to become current.
Premium Processing for FY 2020
USCIS suspended Premium Processing on April 2, 2018, for H1B Visa 2019 season.
USCIS would begin accepting petitions from April 2019 for upcoming FY 2020 season.
So, you would have to wonder, if or when USCIS would suspend the Premium Processing again for the new H1B Visa season.
If the new H1B Registration process is implemented, how would that impact the Premium Processing?
I will update the chart once the Premium Processing opens for other categories.
Let me complete this article with a question for you to ponder!
Why USCIS did not suspend the Premium Processing for Cap Exempt Petitions?