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.


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  484 Useful Questions & Answers

  1. Citrix2019
    Citrix2019 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am

    Hi, my H1B is approved till Oct 2020 , i am planning to switch company and transfer my H1 B. will there be any risks , is it recommended to join with Receipt number or better to wait till the premium opens?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:11 am

      It is better to wait for premium to be on safer side and join only on transfer approval.

  2. Nasheed Moiz
    Nasheed Moiz 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am


    I have been at the same exact team in my company for last 3 years. When I joined my H1B sponsor was “XYZ corporate”. A year ago “XYZ Corporate” changed name to “XYZ Services”. Now my paralegal is telling me that I am not eligible for premium processing since my case is not a simple extension and I’m not eligible for the exception described above for Nebraska. I believe I am eligible for extension and premium processing because my role or team hasn’t changed one bit. What do you think?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:11 am

      Did your employer file an H1B Amendment when they changed the company name?

      • Nasheed Moiz
        Nasheed Moiz 9 Feb, 19 at 10:12 am

        Thanks so much for your response. Im not sure. I didn’t get any correspondence from them stating that they had filed anything to USCIS on my behalf so I guess no, they didn’t.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:42 am

          Can’t really say what your employer has in mind here.

  3. Koti
    Koti 5 Feb, 19 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Anil ,
    I filed my H1B through company A(Consultancy) on Apr 2018 when I was in my STEM OPT. I got full time Opportunity 2 months back and I joined company B.
    Now My H1 got approved from Company B recently. I wpuld like to transfer the H1 to Company B
    1 :Does Pay stubs are mandatory ?
    2: What I my old employer doesn’t give approval notice ?
    3: Is it recommend to work on receipt for Comapany B ?
    4: Company B is asking me hire my immigration lawyer to start the transfer and they will help with the docs. Is it safe to transfer now ?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 5 Feb, 19 at 2:36 pm

      Pay stubs are usually required if you are transferring an h1 from one company to another to prove your h1 status.

      Normally USCIS might send you an RFE if you don’t have the H1 status.

      you can get the approval notice from USCIS directly if you have the receipt number.

      I do not recommend working on receipt with company B. These days we have seen a lot of rejections and then you will be trouble.

      Ideally company B should hire an attorney to file your H1B transfer.
      Employer is responsible for paying the attorney fees and the H1B filing fees as pet law.
      If you file it yourself or pay the fees yourself this is considered violation of H1B rule.

      • Koti
        Koti 9 Feb, 19 at 10:28 am

        My H1 is approved 2 weeks back and right now I’m still with company B . I’m planning to file the transfer this week and thinking of stop working with company B until the receipt Comes.
        Technically I don’t have pay stubs with my previous employer.
        Do I need to consult the attorney for this ?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 2:09 pm

          How will you file H1B transfer without an attorney?
          I think you will need help.

          Legally, you can file H1B Transfer in your situation.
          But, there are chances of RFE as you have never been in H1B status.

          • Koti
            Koti 10 Feb, 19 at 12:25 pm

            I’m not filing the H1 transfer my full time company will file the transfer for me. I’m planning to take leave until then and thinking to start work again after the receipt comes.
            Thing i’m worrying about is pay stubs from previous employer. Can u help me with that ?

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 11 Feb, 19 at 8:11 am

              How can i help with paystubs?

              • Koti
                Koti 11 Feb, 19 at 1:49 pm

                I don’t have pay stubs with my previous Employer still can I file my transfer

                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 12 Feb, 19 at 12:28 pm

                  As i said earlier that legally you are allowed to file H1B transfer in your case.
                  The paystub are only required to prove your current status and they are optional.

                  The chances are high that you might get an RFE to submit paystubs.
                  Talk to your Employer’s attorney ans see what they have to say or if the are comfortable filing transfer without pay stubs.

                  • Koti
                    Koti 12 Feb, 19 at 3:50 pm

                    Since technically I’m with my previous employer for two weeks can I submit those two weeks pay stubs ?

                    • Anil Gupta
                      Anil Gupta 12 Feb, 19 at 9:14 pm

                      I don’t think you have any other option. Do you?

  4. Supriya Ravi
    Supriya Ravi 5 Feb, 19 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Anil,
    I am currently on F1 visa working on CPT for company A , after my OPT got expired. My new H1 petition is still pending for approval with USCIS with company B. I am planning to convert to H4 EAD after company B H1B approval, Company B employer is ready to hold my H1B visa. do you foresee any issues converting into H4 after H1( company B approved).
    Can I continue working company A after H1(company B being approved) and converting to H4 EAD.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:27 am

      I don’t know what kind of issues you may have heard about or want to ask about with H1B to H4. Please be specific with your question to help me answer.
      Open ended question will neither help you nor me.

      There is a LOOONG (5+ months) waiting for converting from H1B to H4 COS and then waiting time for H4 EAD approval. You decide what you want to do.

      • Supriya Ravi
        Supriya Ravi 9 Feb, 19 at 10:28 am

        Hi Anil.,
        Thanks for your reply.
        am working for company A(full time) on CPT, Am hoping H1 from company B (consutancy) will get approved soon.
        Now I do not want to leave company A as it is FTE., this is where I wanted to check with you
        1. Can I switch to H4 EAD and continue working with company A (I know it is gonna take few months for converting H1 to H4, but I can take Loss of Pay from comapny A untill then) ?
        2. Is there a possibility for company B(consultancy) to hold my H1 without revoking it ? reason am asking this is, if I have to switch back H4 to H1 at later point what are my chaces ?

        Thanks in advance

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 2:09 pm

          1. You cannot keep working for Company A unless you have a valid work authorization in the form of either H1B or H4 EAD.
          You will have to leave company A’s job as you can’t legally be employed by Company A while you do not have a valid work permit.
          It depends on how company A manages this situation with ‘loss of pay’.

          If this is a reputable company, they will most probably terminate your employment and ask you to join again once you have the work authorization.

          2. Company B is legally bound to inform USCIS and withdraw your H1B if you do not start working for them. But, i have seen many consultancy firms keep delaying the withdrawal as long as they can.
          This is not a good practice and makes them vulnerable to RFEs later.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 10 Feb, 19 at 12:25 pm

          My suggestion is to join company B once H1B is approved.
          The, file H1B transfer with company A and start working on receipt. That way, you will be able to start working immediately without the long waiting for H4 COS and then H4 EAD.

          Also, H4 EAD is under threat and can be revoked anytime. So, if you are planning for long term, it is better to utilize H1B.

  5. Vikram
    Vikram 28 Jan, 19 at 8:52 pm

    Hi, sorry for the long post. My current H1 expires in June and so does my wife’s H4 and EAD. I am a physician. When my original H1 was filed, there were 2 I-129s. One from the University (cap exempt) and one from the hospital (not a cap exempt employer). My employer is getting the forms ready now. So, for premium processing then will the University I-129 go to California and the hospital I-129 go to Nebraska? Further, my I-140 and the H4 and EAD are based on the hospital I-129. So will the I-539 and I-765 go to Nebraska as well?

    Reading all the posts, it appears that the I-129 (hospital) is eligible for premium processing since there is no change in employer, but my attorney’s paralegal was stating that only cap exempt employers (i.e the University I-129) is eligible for premium processing. So, she is now trying to file my wife’s H4 and EAD extension as part of the University I-129 rather than the hospital one as it was previously done. Will this change create more problems?
    Again, sorry for the long post. Unfortunately have a complex situation.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:02 am

      As I understand, you filed two separate H1B applications by filing two I-129s. Is that correct?
      Which approved H1B have you been using to perform your job currently?

      • Vikram
        Vikram 9 Feb, 19 at 10:43 am

        Both were approved and am using both. The 2 jobs are related. 1 of them is for the hospital side and the other is for the university side. The hospital petition is listed as full time so its the main petition. The University is listed as part time only 4 hrs per week and it specifies that it is filed in conjunction with the other.
        I would like to confirm if the hospital I-129 extension (non cap exempt employer) would be eligible for premium processing.

        Thank you.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 10 Feb, 19 at 12:27 pm

          I think your paralegal is filing both I-129 at California service center.
          At California, only cap-exempt employer is allowed to file for premium processing. So, your University H1B would be eligible for premium here but not Hospital.

          At Nebraska, a ‘no change’ h1B extension is allowed for premium.

  6. H1b transfer
    H1b transfer 28 Jan, 19 at 8:52 pm

    Hi does anybody know what happens after a background verification is done in a H1B transfer?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 28 Jan, 19 at 8:52 pm

      Your question is not clear.
      Please be specific about what you want to know.

      • H1b transfer
        H1b transfer 28 Jan, 19 at 8:52 pm

        I called up uscis to ask about case status. They said background verification is complete. Can the time range for processing be determined from this information?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am

          No, I have no idea about what status is this and how to get processing time from it.

  7. Emanuel
    Emanuel 28 Jan, 19 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Anil,

    I am working for company A (direct hire, full time job after my master in US). I have an offer from company B (again, direct hire) and they want me to join on receipt since premium premium processing is not available and even if I can upgrade in February, I could receive a RFE. I have family and got scared about all those denials that I keep hearing about.

    Do you think that accepting the offer is safe or not? You think that denials mainly come when there are client-companies type of set up?

    Thanks for your help.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:09 am

      Direct hire opportunities are comparatively safer than consultancy jobs.
      But, direct hire also get RFE and denials.

      So, it is your choice if you want to take the risk or wait till approval.
      I suggest to wait till approval unless it is a really good opportunity to miss.

  8. Nana
    Nana 28 Jan, 19 at 8:51 pm

    Hello Anil,

    I had my H1B approved on July 18 and received all the approval documents from my employer (fulltime). I was on my OPT extension when my H1b got approved.

    Recently, I called my university to make sure everything is good and the DSO informed me that my Sevis status still says “H1b is pending” and I’m shown as active on F1 (as a student).

    Can you please help me understand where is the disconnect?

    I’m planning to appear for my H1B interview this April. I have no idea why something inaccurate is shown on the Sevis?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am

      Looks like USCIS has not sent the update or updated the SEVIS system.
      Talk to your attorney and ask how to get it fixed by contacting USCIS.

  9. Jia
    Jia 28 Jan, 19 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Anil,

    I got H1B approval by company X earlier in last July. Recently I was informed by the company lawyer that the entity filed the petition is different than my real employer, company Y which is an affiliate company of X. I planned to activate it in March, but now they want to file the amendment first. This means if I don’t receive approval for the amendment, I will have to stop working in June when my OPT expires. Should I go activate my H1B? Many other people in the same situation had activated without any issue.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am

      Yes, you can ‘activate’ your H1B assuming you mean getting H1B stamped.

      • Jia
        Jia 9 Feb, 19 at 10:11 am

        Thanks a lot for your quick response!
        The paralegal told me it is a fraud to activate with entity X as petitioner, while entity Y is my real employer. The name on the payslip is showing Y. But pretty much everyone knows Y belongs to X. Would that be a problem?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:42 am

          Its not fraud but will be counted as a violation of your H1B terms if you get stamping for X and then work for Y.
          If your employer’s attorney is asking you NOT go for stamping, then it is better to listen to them.

  10. VD105
    VD105 28 Jan, 19 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Anil,

    As a full time employee, if I apply to a different team in my company which gives me a higher salary, different job title but in the same location (ie same metropolitan area) and same SOC job code, do I need to file an H1 amendment or is a new LCA enough?

    What if the SOC job code also changes (ie same employer, same location but everything else changes)?


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 10:01 am

      If it is same SOC job code, then only LCA posting would be enough.
      If the SOC code is changing, then an H1B Amendment is required.