Mar 18, 2020
Premium Processing Suspended for FY2021 H-1B Cap
Joshua H. Rolf
- H-1B Premium Processing will not be available when filing period opens April 1, 2020
- It should be available for Petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 to H-1B no later than May 27, 2020, and for all others no sooner than June 29, 2020
- For now, suspension only applies to FY2021 H-1B Cap Petitions
- Unclear how COVID-19 will affect Premium Processing availability more generally
The period for Fiscal Year 2021 (“FY2021”) H-1B Cap Registrations is set to close on Friday at 12:00PM EST, with the randomized lottery slated to confirm selection by March 31, 2020. For the second year in a row, USCIS has announced that it will not permit any H-1B Cap Petitions selected for filing to include requests for Premium Processing, but that it has plans to reintroduce Premium Processing on a staggered basis. Premium Processing, submitted via Form I-907, enables Petitioners to obtain a decision within 15 calendar days of filing for a fee of $1,440.00. (Note – proposed USCIS fee increases would not affect the price of Premium Processing, but would extend it to 15 business days.) According to the Service, it intends to allow those FY2021 H-1B Cap Petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 Student to H-1B to submit Premium Processing requests before May 27, 2020. All other Petitions, however, will not have access to Premium Processing until June 29, 2020, at the earliest.
For now, USCIS has stated that all other H-1B Petitions will still have access to Premium Processing. It remains to be seen whether the wide-reaching effects of COVID-19, including USCIS’ directive for more adjudicating officers to work remotely, will alter Premium Processing availability not only for H-1B Petitions, but for all filings for which it is an option.
We will continue to provide updates on this year’s H-1B Cap process as we receive them. If you have any questions about H-1B Cap Registrations or Petitions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.