H1B Premium Processing Suspended

H1B premium processing OPEN for all Transfer, Amendment, extension applications at Vermont, California, Nebraska service centers. Open for 2019 Cap petitions.

Written by Am22tech
  By Am22tech      Updated  25 Aug, 19


Update Mar 11 – H1B Premium Processing Open for ALL

USCIS has opened H1B premium processing for all H1B applications (Amendment, Transfer, Extension and COS) starting 12 March 2019.

Join us on WhatsApp Group 4 (Group 3,  2 and 1 are full at this time.), Facebook Group, Twittter, Truvisa.com or Telegram Group for latest updates, questions and answers.

Earlier on Feb 15, USCIS has opened premium processing for applications filed on or before Dec 21, 2018.

Also, on Jan 25, 2019, H1B premium processing was resumed or 2019 Cap Petitions by USCIS. Cap petitions means the NEW H1B applications that were selected in April 2018 Lottery

Source: USCIS

H1B Premium Processing Suspended – Filed After Dec 21, 2018

California Suspended.
 Exception – Cap-exempt Employer
 Exception – Cap-exempt Employer
 Exception – Cap-exempt Employer
Nebraska Suspended.
 Exception – No CHANGE H1B application
 Suspended Suspended
Vermont Suspended Suspended Suspended

All H1B applications including transfer, extension and amendment are affected by this suspension at Vermont and California Service centers due to very high processing time for regular H1B petitions.

At this time, California service center has the highest delay in adjudicating H1B applications, followed by Vermont and Nebraska.

H1B Extension Premium – ‘NO change’ Application meaning?

No change in the H1B application means no change in employer, job title, work location, job duties, SOC code should exactly be the same as on your existing H1B application.

H1B extensions filed ONLY at Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) are still eligible for premium processing.

Recent Examples:

  1. H1B ‘No change’ extension approved in Premium even after RFE in premium.
  2. H1B extension with change in address and department of client was approved in Premium at Nebraska.
  3. Change in Salary is NOT counted as a change for H1B extension.

H1B transfer and amendments are banned from using premium processing.

H1B premium processing suspended by USCIS

File H1B Premium Application at New Transferred Center?

You can apply for H1B premium processing upgrade, if eligible at the new transfer service center.

H4 to H1B Change of Status (COS) premium processing?

Yes, Change of status to H1B applications are also affected by this premium processing suspension.

More questions about H1B premium processing suspension have been answered here.

H1B Premium Processing Ban – Problems for H1B

  1. Driving License Renewals
    Most states do not allow driving license renewal without an approved H1B petition. Trump administration has probably NOT even thought of it before making this decision!
  2. H1B Transfer to new Employer – start work based on receipt
    It is very risky, if your i94 has expired, to join and start working for H1B transfer employer simply on the basis of receipt.
    Without premium processing, many H1b worker would have to wait quite long for the transfer approval and it will cause issues for Employers as well.


Comments are closed. Ask question on Forum (we answer in 1-24 hour)

  484 Useful Questions & Answers

  1. Krishan M
    Krishan M 24 Nov, 18 at 1:28 am

    Hi Anil,

    Please help me with you suggestion.

    My i94 got expired, last week my H1 extension denied.

    I am planing to leave country this week, and planing to re-apply same extension same employer with same client.

    I have question about my H1 re-Apply, am I eligible to apply in Premium?? This is second time applying same employer same client.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 24 Nov, 18 at 8:15 am

      Yes, you are eligible for H1B premium processing if you file at Nebraska processing center.
      Also, what’s the reason for denial? Did you receive RFe before denial?

      If you don’t fix the denial reason before re-applying extension, the chances of denial again are very high.

      • Krishna M
        Krishna M 24 Nov, 18 at 1:51 pm

        Thanks Anil,

        Yes I got Denial reason, Employer Clinet relation was not satisfied, Employer working on corections.

        Thanks again for response.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 24 Nov, 18 at 3:15 pm

          You are welcome and all the best.

          Just curious to know if denial happened without RFE?

          • Krishna M
            Krishna M 25 Nov, 18 at 11:24 am

            I got RFE on Sep 1st week.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 25 Nov, 18 at 11:46 am

              Ok.. so your case was denied after RFE.
              Thanks for sharing. I appreciate be it.

              • Krishna M
                Krishna M 25 Nov, 18 at 12:11 pm

                Hi anil,

                One more question: do I need to apply for LCA again ? Or can I use previous one ?

                Thank you.

                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 25 Nov, 18 at 12:57 pm

                  You can use the same LCA as long as there is no change in the job description, salary and other details approved in the LCA.

  2. krishna n
    krishna n 16 Nov, 18 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Anil,
    my employer applied h1b ext and uscis received my file in oct,2018 (vermont service center). My current i94 is active till Dec 31st, 2018.
    # in case if i get deny status after i94 expired date then do i need to leave from US immediately or can we transfer h1b with new employer after the deny?
    # if yes how soon we need to
    # or is it better to transfer h1b immediately with new employer before i-94 expired ?
    could you please provide me your inputs on above mentioned questions.

    really appreciate your reply to all questions for everyone in this blog, really helpful.

    • krishna n
      krishna n 16 Nov, 18 at 10:46 pm

      or any other best alternative options that you suggest apart from my above mentioned questions.

      • Anil Gupta
        Anil Gupta 17 Nov, 18 at 7:35 am

        You have to leave USA immediately if your i94 has expired and your H1B extension is denied.

        It is better you apply for H1B transfer before i94 expiry if you think your extension bhas a chance of denial.

        You can apply for H1B transfer after i94 expiry too but cannot remain in US if extension has been denied.

        • krishna n
          krishna n 17 Nov, 18 at 5:01 pm

          Thank you so much Anil.

        • krishna n
          krishna n 17 Nov, 18 at 7:13 pm

          Hi Anil, i forgot to mention one point.
          Actually i have my i-40 approved and will that helpful with that in case if it get deny after i-94 expiry date, shall i continue with new employer with H1B transfer or continue with existing employer ?
          if yes what is the grace period of time ?

          • Anil Gupta
            Anil Gupta 17 Nov, 18 at 9:09 pm

            I140 is for future employment and will not help if your i94 has expired and you get a denial.

  3. Kumar
    Kumar 5 Nov, 18 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Anil

    Appreciate your reply to all the questions for everyone on this blog.
    I do have a question hope you can amswer

    I have my visa valid until May 2019 and i have offered new job where i am suppose to join on H1 Receipt as the premium filing is not available. Can i risk to travel to India with old H1 and i-94 while current H1 transfer is pending and i just have the receipt ?
    Appreciate response , thank you.

    Best Regards
    K Kumar

  4. Siva
    Siva 23 Oct, 18 at 7:33 am

    Hi Anil,

    Please advise on my situation.

    I came to US on Nov 2008 and stayed here until 2012 January. I was not given visa because of EVC model at the time of interview and since then i’m working in India(2012 – till date).
    i have applied on cap exemption in 2017 under premium processing and got approved for 1 year (Oct 27 2017-Oct 26 2018). I went to embassy on Oct 12th 2018 and it got approved, i came to US on 22nd Oct 2018 and I94 given until Nov 5 2018.

    Please help me to understand how to proceed further:

    1.Am i eligible for premium processing?
    2.If not how long it will take for normal processing to be approved because i was on medical leave for 2 months from my current organization(India)

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 23 Oct, 18 at 8:23 am

      Eligibility for Premium depends on which service your application will go to. Check your receipt number and see if it is Nebraska. If it is, then you can file H1B extension application with ‘No change’ from previous application and get it in premium.

      I am not sure about how your ‘medical leave’ is related to H1B processing time? Can you elaborate on what you are asking?
      We track regular H1B processing time daily.

      • Siva
        Siva 23 Oct, 18 at 11:41 am

        Thank you Anil for quick response.

        I see in my I797 as Vermont Service Centre. I had a discussion with my employer and they said we can file to Nebraska not sure how they will doing.

        I didn’t gave my resignation to the company which I’m working now. I’m in perception that extention process will complete in 2 months so that I can fly back to India and finish my notice period. So I just took 2 months medical leave and came to US.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 23 Oct, 18 at 12:34 pm

          ok. I understand your situation now.

          H1B Premium processing only takes 15 calendar days straight if there are no RFEs.

          One more point to note:
          Since you got your old H1B renewed with cap exemption, how many years are left in total H1B time in US out of 6 years?
          You will not be able to extend after H1B 6th year without PERM or approved i140.

          • Siva
            Siva 23 Oct, 18 at 11:19 pm

            Out of 6 years I was in US for only 3.3years. Please let me know if I’m eligible for for premium processing.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 24 Oct, 18 at 5:15 am

              As i already said, premium processing at this time is dependent on service center.

              If your application goes to Vermont, you are not eligible for premium processing at this time.

              If you application goes to Nebraska, then only no change applications are allowed for premium. Has any client, location or anything else changed in your H1B application.
              I think you are working for some other company in USA than the one who applied for your H1B.
              Is it true?

              • Siva
                Siva 24 Oct, 18 at 6:17 am

                Apologies for asking same query multiple times. My current I797 is
                VSC. As per discussion with my HR they are going to apply to Nebraska with PP.

                I just came 2 days back to US and I’m with same company. Not deployed in any project.

                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 24 Oct, 18 at 7:29 am

                  If they are saying they can file with Nebraska and with ‘no change’ from previous H1B application, then you are eligible for premium.

                  Now, I can’t really judge if your application has any change or not without having enough information.

                  • Siva
                    Siva 24 Oct, 18 at 8:19 am

                    I just got an email from HR to fill my job description and it has USCIS Nebraska Service Center
                    Premium Processing Service
                    ATTN: I-129 H-1B (Extension)
                    850 S Street
                    Lincoln, NE 68508

                    • Siva
                      Siva 24 Oct, 18 at 8:20 am

                      Not sure how they are going to work on my case. Is it mandatory to stay in US until my new H1 gets approved.

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 24 Oct, 18 at 8:28 am

                      It is NOT mandatory but is advisable to stay within USA while your H1B extension is pending. There could be issues if you travel.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 30 Oct, 18 at 5:15 pm

                      Thank you Anil for all your suggestions. My petetion was approved in 4 days. Can you please let me know when attorneys or employer will receive approval notice. I’m curious to know my expiry date or is there any way to check by myself.

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 30 Oct, 18 at 5:58 pm

                      Congratulations on approval.
                      Your attorney will receive paper approval in mail within 2-3 weeks.
                      You can’t check the validity yourself.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 30 Oct, 18 at 6:45 pm

                      I have a quick query please, if I receive soft copy can I travel to India and use Dropbox option for visa stamping.

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 31 Oct, 18 at 5:22 am

                      No, you should NOT rely on soft copy of approval. You need the i797C notice of approval in original to go for Visa stamping.

                      Check if you are eligible for Dropbox using our app.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 31 Oct, 18 at 9:48 am

                      Verified and I’m eligible for Dropbox. I just had discussion with my employer he’s not allowing me to go back to India for stamping as there is no payroll generated. I didn’t served notice period in my current organisation back in India and I have some personal commitments. Please advice.

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 31 Oct, 18 at 10:05 am

                      What do you mean by ‘Payroll’ not generated? If you are in USA on H1B, it is absolutely mandatory to generate payroll from day 1.

                      I cannot really say anything about your notice period and how to manage it.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 2 Nov, 18 at 11:50 am

                      I spoke with my employer and he’s suggesting me to stay here for next 6 months and go for stamping. Is it okay if I go for stamping now with only I797 approval notice in handy… as I’m eligible for Dropbox. Because I have lot of personal things to finish off back in India.

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 2 Nov, 18 at 11:55 am

                      I do NOT recommend going for stamping without original i797 notice of approval. You are risking your chances here.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 4 Nov, 18 at 12:03 pm

                      My employer is willing to give me I797.. Can I go for Dropbox without paystub as I was not deployed in any client location

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 4 Nov, 18 at 12:13 pm

                      There is no fixed set of documents that you need for Dropbox. You can go if you want to. But, if they ask you to show pay stubs, you will have no choice.

                    • Siva
                      Siva 14 Jan, 19 at 9:47 am

                      Hi Anil,

                      I have submitted documents in Dropbox on 14th December 2018 in hyderabad consulate, but till now no update.

                      In passport tracker it is showing as “your passport is still with the us embassy/consulate”

                      In https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/ site “no status”

                      Do I have to wait or send any email to them asking for update.


                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:03 am

                      Hi Siva, since your question is out of scope of this article, I created a thread here for you and added my answer there too:

  5. Arun
    Arun 11 Oct, 18 at 11:46 pm


    I will complete 6 years in USA in next march, 2019. AFAIK, my employer was able to file premium processing for H1B extension just today in California Service Center. Is there something that I am missing, as it seems like you said that the H1B premium processing is suspended until Feb 19, 2019 for even H1B extensions?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Arun
      Arun 11 Oct, 18 at 11:47 pm

      Do you have a link from USCIS website which mentions that H1B premium processing is suspended until Feb 19, 2019 for even “H1B extensions”?

      • Arun
        Arun 12 Oct, 18 at 12:29 am

        To add some more info, my I-140 is Approved, and my current employer filed petition to extend my H1B status beyond 6 years.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 12 Oct, 18 at 9:46 am

          All types of H1B applications are afffected by premium processing suspension.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 12 Oct, 18 at 7:14 am

      At California service center, only cap exempt employer are allowed to file H1B applications at this time with premium processing.

      • Arun
        Arun 12 Oct, 18 at 12:46 pm

        Thanks for the info.

  6. Business Analyst
    Business Analyst 10 Oct, 18 at 11:53 am

    Hi Anil,

    I must say this post is really informative and the responses you have been giving in the comments section is really helpful for scores of people like me.

    I have one more query to add to the long list (may be you might have answered this in another post. And i think i know the answer in the back of my mind but still it wont hurt to get a second opinion 🙂 )

    I am working for employer A and have given interviews with B and they have rolled out an offer (at least verbally). Should be getting a formal letter soon. Since I am on H1B, they need to file for a transfer or rather petition by case again. Now that premium processing is suspended, it might take anywhere between 1 – 6 months to get a response. So in the meantime, they may or may not hold on to this open position. So in this scenario do you think it will be good option to quit A and join B after getting the ‘Notice of Receipt’ from USCIS.

    And any ideally, how long is it taking these days to get an adjudication on the transfer petitions?

    Appreciate your help.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 10 Oct, 18 at 12:00 pm

      What is your i94 expiry? If you have a long i94 expiry like more than what a regular H1B application transfer is taking at this time, you can take the risk.
      If your i94 is going to expire soon, it is too risky to move without a concrete approval.

      As per my opinion, you should NOT move unless your H1B transfer is approved with any third party consultant company.
      You can still take a risk with direct client hire opportunity if the employer has good credentials. Otherwise, it is too risky to move.

      You will be adding complications if you move only on receipt basis.

      Current H1B Transfer processing time (4-8 months).

      • Business Analyst
        Business Analyst 10 Oct, 18 at 12:15 pm

        Thanks for quick response Anil.

        I didn’t know there was I94 angle in this thing. My problem is my I94 expired couple of weeks back. So not sure where how much of a complication it can cause. And to your point on the employer credentials, it is direct hire for one of the top quasi-government orgs in USA.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 10 Oct, 18 at 1:22 pm

          If your i94 has already expired, then you have bigger problem if you join now with receipt.
          Your current H1B extension application is now a BRIDGE application and its final result will affect your H1B transfer as well.

          This means that your H1B transfer cannot reach a result unless H1B extension reaches a result. If your H1B extension is withdrawn after you leave or is denied finally by USCIS, your H1B transfer cannot be approved without consular processing.
          This is done because each H1B approval brings a new i94 to keep your status in US valid from one i94 expiry to next one’s start date.

          In your current case, if your H1B extension is denied, you will not get a new i94 to bridge the gap between your current i94 expiry and then the date of application of H1B transfer. This time gap will be counted as ‘Out of status’ time.

          So, USCIS will not approve your H1B transfer or will issue an RFE or approve with consular processing i.e. go out of USA and get it stamped on your passport to re-enter.

          You may want to read the complications it may cause here.

          • BA
            BA 10 Oct, 18 at 2:48 pm

            The believe the assumption you made in the above point is that my H1B visa also is expired or about to be expired soon which isnt the case.

            After I came to US, my initial Visa was valid until Sept 2018. However, there was an amendment made in 2018 (at which point they sought an extension as well). So that was approved without any RFE and my visa got approved till 2020. However, since I never gone out of US even once after I came here, the I94 is still reflecting the original date of sept 2018.

            So, the current situation is that my I94 is expired, however visa is valid till 2020. To add another twist to the story, I am planning to travel to India this dec and get the visa stamping done in India.

            With this added information, what do you think i should do.

            I know I am asking too many questions, but any help/suggestion would be appreciated.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 10 Oct, 18 at 9:30 pm

              1. If your H1B amendment + extension was approved, then you must have received a new i94 attached to i797 approval notice. That new i94 will supercede your old i94. Check it carefully. I think you are missing something here.

              2. Visa stamp in your passport is different than i797 approval.

              3. Visa stamp only gives you right to enter USA. Once you enter USA, visa has no role to play. It is i94 that defines how long you can stay and what happens if you file extensions before and after i94 expiry. Your i797 and i94 will go hand in hand.

              4. Visa stamp will only come into picture again if you go out of USA.

              • BA
                BA 10 Oct, 18 at 11:22 pm

                Thanks for the clarification. I did some more digging and found this link https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1741/~/i-94—extension-of-stay%2C-adjustment-of-status%2C-change-of-status. Turns out that since my amendment + extension is already approved, this supersedes the I94 date as reflected in CBP website.

                So in short i have a good 1.5 years time before the I94 expires. So going by your first response to my post, I can take the risk 🙂 (correct me if my assessment is wrong). Finally some positive news after a long while.

                One last question before I rest my case: If at all I am taking the risk of going with emp B and they file for my transfer petition, do you think it will be fine to still get my visa stamping done while I am India (while the transfer petition is still in progress)?


                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 11 Oct, 18 at 12:01 am

                  ok..that’s good news that you found your i94 record.

                  I would strongly suggest to NOT travel while your H1B transfer is pending.
                  H1B stamping might have issues since you would have left your old employer and if they withdraw your H1B application before you go for stamping, you will be in trouble.

                  If you really want to go ahead with joining new employer based on receipt notice, do NOT travel unless it gets approved and you get approved i797.

                  • BA
                    BA 11 Oct, 18 at 8:13 am

                    Point noted. Appreciate all the help. Thanks again Anil.

                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 11 Oct, 18 at 12:08 am

                  Also, have you checked your i797 approval notice to see your paper i94? Do not assume anything unless you have the i94 with new validity visible on it.
                  It is a very important piece of paper.

  7. Manohar
    Manohar 9 Oct, 18 at 9:11 pm

    Is H1 transfer in premium processing from one employer to another suspended too?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Oct, 18 at 9:59 pm

      Yes, H1B transfer premium processing has been suspended.

  8. Srikanth
    Srikanth 9 Oct, 18 at 2:09 am

    My visa expired on Sept 2017 and I have applied my H1b Renewal on June 1st 2018 in Normal – California Service Center. Is cap-expt suspended with Premium Processing? Can i convert to Premium?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Oct, 18 at 12:18 pm

      Cap exempt employer H1B applications are currently allowed only at California center with premium. You can apply for premium processing there now, if you qualify.

      • Srikanth
        Srikanth 10 Oct, 18 at 1:43 am

        Is there any new amendment has come on same. Because when i checked with Employer they said that it is suspended till Feb 2019. and they have given below reason..

        “Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; ”

        My case doesn’t suffice to above criteria.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 10 Oct, 18 at 6:53 am

          Its not an amendment but a temporary premium processing suspension by USCIS to speed up the regular application’s processing time. USCIS does it whenever they feel they need do it.

          The suspension is valid up-to Feb 19, 2019.

  9. Online Account
    Online Account 4 Oct, 18 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Anil,

    Quick query – My petition was filed under normal processing but was converted into Premium processing in August. Unfortunately, I received an RFE which we are in the process of responding. My confusion is if the RFE response will be given in 15 days with the premium clock turned On or will it take 60-80 days since Premium processing is suspended.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 4 Oct, 18 at 6:35 pm

      Your application should be processed in premium timeline as your fees for premium has already been accepted by USCIS and it all happened before the suspension.

      As per their policy, RFE decisions are also processed in premium if initial application was filed or upgraded to premium.

  10. Deepak
    Deepak 24 Sep, 18 at 9:16 am

    Hi Anil,

    Here is my situation. I did a H1B transfer back in March 2018 and worked for a client until Mid of June, later I moved to a different location under same MSA same client but different Department. ( my employer did not file an Amendment in June because it was under the same MSA, they just re pasted the LCA in new location)

    Now my H1B needs to be extended, Can i file under Premium Processing?


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 24 Sep, 18 at 12:04 pm

      Premium processing is ONLY available for ‘no change’ applications only and that too at Nebraska Service center.

      Did you job title change or job duties change? What exactly changed when you changed the ‘Department’?
      Your employer’s attorney would be able to tell you better though.

      • Deepak
        Deepak 24 Sep, 18 at 12:28 pm

        Job duties and job title is same. Only the address and department of the client changed.

        The new address is under the same city MSA.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 24 Sep, 18 at 12:46 pm

          ok. To me, it sounds like a ‘no change’ H1B extension. You can talk to your attorney and discuss.

          • Deepak
            Deepak 26 Oct, 18 at 8:49 am

            Hey Anil,

            Just wanted to thank you again for your guidance.
            my H1b extension got approved thru premium processing Nebraska Service center.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 26 Oct, 18 at 9:19 am

              Wow..good news. Enjoy.

  11. Anil Gupta
    Anil Gupta 12 Feb, 19 at 6:47 pm

    I think that job title change will be counted as ‘Amendment’. In that case, you won’t be eligible for premium processing.

  12. GANESH
    GANESH 12 Feb, 19 at 7:51 pm

    ok thanks

  13. GANESH
    GANESH 12 Feb, 19 at 9:54 pm

    Hi anil. I have a quick question. I had a valid visa until Dec 31, 2018. I left the country on August 17 2018 to India and my h1b extnesion was filed on August 14, 2018 and the same was approved on AUgust 22, 2018 until June 2019 while I was In India. When i cam back to US on Sept 12, 2018, I didnt have the h1b extension receipt so CBP officer gave only until Dec 31, 2018 I94. Is it a problem or did i overstay?

  14. Anil Gupta
    Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 1:04 am

    Do you have a new i94 now?
    If not, then you should get one immediately as you are overstaying i94 is a serious violation.