Mar 20 2020

USCIS Immediately Suspends Premium Processing for All I-129 and I-140 Petitions Due to COVID-19

United States

At a glance

  • USCIS will not accept requests for premium processing on I-129 and I-140 petitions, effective today March 20, 2020. 
  • The agency states that the suspension of 15-day premium processing services is necessary due to the COVID-19 crisis; USCIS will notify the public when premium processing resumes.
  • Today’s announcement applies to FY 2021 H-1B cap filings and supersedes the agency’s earlier announced plan to implement H-1B cap premium processing in two phases.    

The Issue

USCIS announced today that due to the COVID-19 crisis, the agency is immediately suspending premium processing services for all I-129 and I-140 petitions. Requests for premium processing that were mailed before March 20, but have not yet been accepted by USCIS, will be rejected. In these cases, USCIS will return the Form I-907 premium processing request, along with the associated $1,440 filing fee to the petitioner. 

This temporary suspension of 15-day premium processing includes petitions filed for the following categories:

  • Form I-129: E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.
  • Form I-140: EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.

Today’s premium processing suspension supersedes the suspension related to FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions announced earlier this week. Until further notice, USCIS will not make premium processing available for FY 2021 cap filings.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

Until further notice, employers wishing to sponsor foreign nationals for temporary or permanent employment will not be able to expedite their petitions. This wholesale suspension is expected to be temporary during the COVID-19 emergency. USCIS will make a public announcement when premium processing service is reinstated.

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