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. Vinoth
    Vinoth 15 Feb, 19 at 5:32 pm

    HiAnil, My extension (with amendment) has filed on last nov. Got receipt notice on 21st Nov. Can i eligible to upgrade it to premium on Feb 19th 2019? I didn’t changethe company

    • Vinoth
      Vinoth 15 Feb, 19 at 5:32 pm

      Am I eligible to upgrade it to premium on coming Feb 19th? My Visa/extension has already expired on 23rd Dec 2018

      • Anil Gupta
        Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 10:49 pm

        Your H1B application is eligible for premium processing starting Feb 19, 2019.

  2. Sonu
    Sonu 15 Feb, 19 at 4:49 pm

    Hello Anil,
    I started working with Company A in October 2017 and they
    filed for my H1-B which got approved via the lottery on 10/2/2018 (I-94
    valid till 9/9/2021). I ended up working with them until November 15,
    2018 (company shutdown). I then joined Company B on 14 January, 2019 (within 60-day
    period) and have been working with them on H1-B receipt notice (status
    Now I want to move to Company C, can I file an H1-B transfer and move with them on receipt or do I need to wait for the company B petition to be approved before moving to C?

    Please let me know

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 5:00 pm

      You can move to company C on H1B transfer receipt.

      • Sonu
        Sonu 19 Feb, 19 at 2:41 pm

        This will likely lead to an RFE correct ?
        Also will it be considered a bridge petition ?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 2:42 pm

          Bridge comes into picture if you file H1B transfer after i94 expiry.

          • Sonu
            Sonu 20 Feb, 19 at 1:40 pm

            I was told by an attorney that this would be a bridge petition as I am moving from B to C.
            What do you think ?

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 20 Feb, 19 at 3:28 pm

              Attorney has more information about your cases than what you have shared above. They may be in a better position to judge than me.

  3. Alvise
    Alvise 15 Feb, 19 at 4:02 pm

    What about transfer petitions filed in January 2019? What is the purpose of this? It is getting ridiculous. When can we expect petitions filed after December 21, 2018 to be eligible for Premium Processing?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 4:38 pm

      With today’s USCIS update, H1B applications filed after Dec 21, 2018 are not eligible for premium processing at this time.
      I know this is ridiculous but that’s what it is.

      • Alvise
        Alvise 15 Feb, 19 at 5:13 pm

        I understand. Does this mean that applications filed after Dec 21, 2018 will now take longer to be approved? How soon do you think USCIS will start accepting premium processing petitions for applications filed after Dec 21, 2018?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 8:16 pm

          Regular processing time will apply for all applications as it normally does.

          I don’t think premium processing will return in next 3 months.

          • Chandrasekhar Banda
            Chandrasekhar Banda 16 Feb, 19 at 5:00 am

            Hi Anil,
            I filed my cap exempt petition from India on Jan 18, 2019.

            USCIS has started enabling premium process One after the other (Jan 28, 2019 — They started for Cap petitions & Feb 19, 2019 — They started for petitions filed before Dec 21)..

            How are you saying that USCIS will enable all premiums in next 3 months?

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 16 Feb, 19 at 9:14 am

              When did I say that USCIS will ENABLE all premiums in next 3 months? Please read it again.

          • Alvise
            Alvise 18 Feb, 19 at 1:31 pm

            Thank you Anil. Just curious, why do you say that it won’t return in the next 3 months?

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 7:34 pm

              My own estimate based on USCIS past experience and current number of pending applications.

  4. Vasu Goteti
    Vasu Goteti 15 Feb, 19 at 4:02 pm

    How likely USCIS will resume premium processing for H1b other catagories?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 4:38 pm

      Premium processing is now open for all types of H1B applications that were filed on or before Dec 21, 2018.
      What category are you talking about?

  5. Amit Arora
    Amit Arora 15 Feb, 19 at 3:49 pm

    H1b Premiums are opening from 02/19 for applications filed on or before Dec 21st.

  6. Kaushal Thakur
    Kaushal Thakur 15 Feb, 19 at 10:02 am

    Is the timeline for H1 Transfer and H1 Extension with regular processing is same at California service center?
    What is the expected timeline for H1 Transfer with regular processing at CSC?
    When is premium starting for H1 Transfer?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 11:04 am

      The H1B transfer processing time at California is pretty much same as H1B extension at 6+ months for regular processing.

      H1B premium is expected to start on Feb 20, 2019 but there is no official confirmation yet from USCIS.

      • Kaushal Thakur
        Kaushal Thakur 15 Feb, 19 at 11:04 am

        When I search a query in H1B tracker by Reddit I can see that Application filed for H1 transfer in Dec 2018 with regular processing at CSC is getting approved in last week. Is this a misleading data?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 11:04 am

          I am also seeing H1B transfer application being approved from Dec 2018 on our tracker.

          Cannot comment on Reddit data though. Our service scans multiple forums and then tries to show best case approval date.

          • Kaushal Thakur
            Kaushal Thakur 15 Feb, 19 at 11:15 am

            Completely agree. It’s a luck factor.. Hope premium starts ASAP. I have two offers pending for H1transfer. Just confused which one to go if premium is not started. Not joining at receipt notice in either. Any suggestion for better approval between one of the big 4 consulting company vs Leading US based Biotech company. Both FT

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 11:15 am

              My suggestion is to go for full time with direct client rather than consultancy.
              Rest depends on your personal career prospects and salary aspirations.

  7. Krishna
    Krishna 14 Feb, 19 at 12:36 pm


    Is it possible to apply for H1-B petition transfer for more than one employer ?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 14 Feb, 19 at 12:36 pm

      You can apply for as many H1B transfer as you want. There is no restriction.

  8. Raghunath
    Raghunath 9 Feb, 19 at 10:27 am

    Hi Anil,

    I have gap in employment after I came to USA on H4 (as my application was not picked up in two consecutive years (Lottery), and due to this I have approx 3 years of unemployment. All though I did not work in US, I have overall 11 years of experience back home in India for which ACS assessment was made with 5 years being considered in my selected occupation. I have received invite for 189 visa in Jan 2019 and now the question is what do you highly recommend that I should include/write in “Additional Information” in Form 80 for my situation? Your honest inputs will help me before I submit the Visa application.

    Thank you,

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

      Your question is out of context for this article. I have created a thread for your question here and replied too.

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

        Thank you so much for your response.

  9. Nitin
    Nitin 9 Feb, 19 at 10:27 am

    Hi, my H1 B visa is expiring on 19th Feb. I had applied for the extension last Nov. The receipt date is 13 Nov 18. Any guess on by when can i get the approval.

  10. Amit Arora
    Amit Arora 9 Feb, 19 at 10:27 am

    Hello, Do we have an update on H1b Premium service resumption for transfer cases?

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

      No official announcement yet from USCIS. I hope they open it up on Feb 20, 2019.