Update Mar 20, 2020 – USCIS has suspended premium processing for all types of applications filed using form i-129 and i-140 due to Coronavirus.
Earlier, USCIS had suspended it only for all H1b lottery applications in April 2020-21 season.
|Premium Processing||H1B New (Lottery) / Extension / Transfer / Amendment||i-140|
This ban is going to increase H1B processing time exponentially this year. Its hard time for H4 and L2 EAD workers as their approvals will also be delayed. Some of you may have to embrace job losses in an Coronavirus induced recession.
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.
I-140: EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.
This ban includes both H1B change of status and consular processing applications filed under H1b 2021 cap.
USCIS will return any premium application that has been sent before Mar 20 but not yet received by USCIS.
H1B transfer, extension and amendment are suspended by USCIS until further notice.
H1B change of status and cap subject lottery applications are also not eligible for premium processing at this time.
USCIS has suspended premium processing for i140 applications until further notice.
California service center has the longest H1B processing time, followed by Vermont and Nebraska.
You can check the current processing time for processing time for regular H1B petitions.
USCIS can transfer your H1B application to new center after lottery selection.
USCIS has announced earlier that they will resume premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 non-immigrant status by May 27, 2020.
But, due to Coronavirus national emergency, these dates have been taken off. New dates will be announced later.
The earliest date that USCIS announced for resuming premium processing for all other FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions was June 29, 2020.
This date stands cancelled now due to coronavirus emergency.
L1 premium processing has been suspended at this time.
There is no premium processing available for non-profit organization or health care company.
USCIS batch printed notice is the standard page that they have already printed for sending as common reply for premium processing applications.
When you send a premium processing application, your employer has an option to send a pre-paid envelope to get USCIS response faster than regular USPS mail.
If you wish to have the notice mailed to you rather than wait for the batch-printed notice, submit a pre-paid express mail label and an envelope for mailing.
In this case premium processing suspension, USCIS has specifically mentioned that they will only send pre-printed receipt notice and no pre-paid envelope will be honored.
Sample H1B form for F1 Premium Eligibility
Your H1B employer should select the correct value on H1B I-129 form to be eligible for F1 category.
Go to Part 2 (on Page 2) -> Question 2 (Basis for Classification) -> Select option “a – New employment“.
Go to Part 2 (on Page 2)-> Question 4 (Requested Action) -> Select option “b – Change the status and extend the status of each beneficiary because the beneficiary is/are now in the United states in another status“.
Go to Part 3 (on page 3) ->Question 5 -> Current Immigration Status -> Choose ‘F1 – Student -Academic‘ from dropdown box.
F1 Student Filing H1B Change of Status Gap Cap
If you are filing first time H1B and are currently on F1 status, you are eligible for F1 Cap-Gap to cover your gap between F1 end date to Sep 30 automatically.
Remember, that cap-gap is only available for change of status if your current F1 status is expiring before Oct 1, which is the earliest date when H1B can start working.