USCIS Announces Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for FY 2021 Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions

April 14, 2020

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

Suspended StampOn March 16, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the temporary suspension of premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject
H-1B petitions due to the pandemic and provided the following information:

  • Petitioners filing FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not be able to request premium processing when USCIS begins accepting cap-subject petitions on April 1, 2020. Until premium processing resumes for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 concurrently filed with a cap-subject H-1B Form I-129.
  • Premium processing will resume in a two-phased approach during the FY 2021 cap season. The first phase will include FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, including those eligible for the advanced-degree exemption, requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status. The second phase will include all other FY 2021 cap-subject petitions.
  • USCIS said it will resume premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status by May 27, 2020, and will notify the public before premium processing resumes for these petitions. Petitioners must appropriately select response “b” for Item 4 in Part 2 of Form I-129, and indicate “F-1” for Item 5 and “Current Nonimmigrant Status” in Part 3 of Form I-129, to be eligible to file a Form I-907 as part of this first group.
  • The earliest date that USCIS will resume premium processing for all other FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions is June 29, 2020.
  • Petitioners filing FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing resumes, as applicable. USCIS said it will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing for FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions.
  • Premium processing remains available for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension-of-stay requests.