Virginia, US

Mar 16 2020

Premium Processing for FY2021 H-1B Cap Initially Suspended, Then Available in Stages

United States

At a glance

  • Premium processing will not be available for FY2021 H-1B cap petitions when employers begin filing on April 1.
  • USCIS will resume premium processing in two phases, the first starting no later than May 27, 2020 when it will accept premium processing requests for petitions requesting a change of status from F-1.
  • The second phase will include all other cap-subject H-1B petitions and will begin no earlier than June 29, 2020.
  • Premium processing remains available and unchanged for H-1B extensions, changes of employer and other filings that are not subject to the cap.

The issue

USCIS announced today that it is temporarily suspending premium processing for FY 2021, but will resume the service in a two-phased approach starting no later than May 27, 2020 for certain H-1B cap filings.

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. However, beginning no later than May 27, 2020, the agency will begin accepting premium processing requests for H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1.

Then beginning no earlier than June 29, 2020, USCIS will begin accepting premium processing requests for all other cap-subject H-1B petitions. USCIS is expected to announce specific opening dates for its two phases of cap premium processing in the coming months.

As a reminder, under the new H-1B registration system process, the H-1B cap filing period lasts from April 1 to June 30.

Premium processing remains available and unchanged for H-1B extensions, changes of employer and other filings that are not subject to the cap.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

Employers will not be able to premium process H-1B cap petitions in the beginning of the filing period, but will have the opportunity to do so or upgrade at a later time. Employers should identify change of status cases that may qualify for premium processing in the first phase of implementation.

Fragomen is closely monitoring FY 2021 H-1B cap policies and procedures, and will issue updates as soon as USCIS announces the premium processing implementation dates.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.