Phased Premium Processing begins for I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions and I-129 Visa Petitions for Temporary Workers, including the H-1B and L- visa categories
By Donald W. Parker, Immigration Attorney
On May 29, 2020, the USCIS announced the phased resumption of Premium Processing for I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions and I-129 Visa Petitions for Temporary Workers, including the H-1B and L- visa categories. The USCIS had suspended Premium Processing for 2021 H-1B cap cases on March 16th, and then on March 20th, as a result of the COVID-19 situation for all other eligible I-140 and I-129 visa petitions. Under Premium Processing, a petitioning employer or a sponsored employee can pay a special USCIS fee of $1,440 to ensure processing of the Form I-140 or I-129 within 15 calendar days — without Premium Processing, these visa petitions can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months, or longer, to be processed.
The resumption of Premium Processing will proceed in the following phases:
- Effective June 1, 2020, USCIS will accept Premium Processing for all eligible Form I-140 petitions.
- Effective June 8, USCIS will accept Premium Processing for all pending (i.e., cases filed prior to June 8th) H-1B extensions, H-1B amendments, H-1B change of employer filings and all other pending non-H-1B Form I-129 visa petitions for which Premium Processing was available prior to its suspension.
- Effective June 15, USCIS plans on resuming Premium Processing for all H-1B visa petitions filed on or after June 8thwhere the employer is cap-exempt, where the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity or organization (such as an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization) or where the beneficiary is cap-exempt based on a Conrad/IGA waiver.
- Effective June 22, USCIS plans on resuming Premium Processing for all other Form I-129 petitions, including H-1B cap-subject petitions and all other Form I-129 petitions for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing.
The USCIS announcement states that these dates are subject to change as it continues to take on more premium processing requests.
For more information please contact any of our immigration attorneys at Parker Gallini LLP.