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. PrasadS
    PrasadS 19 Feb, 19 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Anil,

    My H1B amendment and extension petition is filed on 1/16/2019. It involves change of work location and job title. Am I eligible for filing upgrade to premium processing?

    Also can you please clarify what the exception for Cap-exempt Employer means?


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 1:20 pm

      You are not eligible for H1B premium processing upgrade at this time.

      Cap exempt employers are mostly non-profit companies.

      • PrasadS
        PrasadS 19 Feb, 19 at 1:27 pm

        Thanks for your prompt response!

  2. SM
    SM 19 Feb, 19 at 1:52 am

    Do you know if ‘NO CHANGE’ premium processing is applicable for ,computer systems analyst code ?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 8:38 am

      The SOC code does not affect the premium processing eligibility at this time. ‘No change’ means that your H1B extension application has no changes with respect to your current H1B approval.

      • SM
        SM 19 Feb, 19 at 3:48 pm

        Thank you Anil. Appreciated. So premium processing is applicable for any Soc code if there is no change. Will it work if there is a change in the level in LCA

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 6:45 pm

          What level are you talking about? Please ask clear questions to help me answer to-the-point.

  3. World Citizen
    World Citizen 18 Feb, 19 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Community Members,
    Before I even start asking my question, Thanks a lot for people who are running this portal, it has been very useful for people who are on H1B. Keep up the good work.

    Present Situation: Working for Employer A , visa will expire in next 4 weeks, extension has been filed by employer A. Parallely Visa transfer filed by employer B in Jan 2019, which I believe is not eligible for premium yet.

    Considering my present visa situation, will extension have better chances of approval than transfer ? I want to continue or change the employer depending upon the probability of visa approval. I believe no one can provide an accurate answer but want to know opinion of community members based on their experience.

    Below is some more background to provide more visibility:

    Employer A –> Consultant with niche consulting firm working with direct clients. Been with this employer for 4+ years and have an approved I140 from this employer.
    Employer B –> Full time opportunity with major Financial Services firm in USA.

    Please note I have already completed 6+ years in USA and Employer B is requesting for additional time on H1B based on I140 from Employer A.

    Thanks in advance. Cheers !

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 2:40 pm

      Employer B’s full time H1B transfer opportunity has much better chances of approval than a consulting company’s H1B extention.

      • World Citizen
        World Citizen 18 Feb, 19 at 2:47 pm

        Thanks Anil for your response. Any prediction from you on when USCIS might open premium processing for cases filed in 2019 ? Has USCIS given any hints about this ?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 7:54 pm

          USCIS has not given any hints about opening Premium processing for all applications.
          As per my opinion, USCIS might not open premium processing for at-least next 3 months.

        • Chandrasekhar Banda
          Chandrasekhar Banda 19 Feb, 19 at 12:26 am

          USCIS will open premium for all kind of petitions except for 2019-20 cap petitions in the month of march

          • Anil Gupta
            Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 8:32 am

            What’s your source of information? Just your estimate or any other source?
            I hope your words come out true.

            • Archana
              Archana 19 Feb, 19 at 11:35 am

              Hi Anil,

              Is it advisable to work using H1b receipt notice after applying for change of status from H4 To H1B(cab exempt) with an I94 which has not expired?

              • Anil Gupta
                Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 1:20 pm

                You cannot start working on H1B unless your H4 to H1B change of status application is first approved.
                I would NOT recommend starting work unless you have your new i94 with H1B status.

                • Archana
                  Archana 19 Feb, 19 at 3:41 pm

                  Thanks Anil

                • Neeraj N
                  Neeraj N 20 Feb, 19 at 12:10 pm

                  Hi Anil,

                  Does this also apply if Archana had been working on H4 EAD while the transfer to H1b is in progress? Guessing that a work status was always present in this case so the individual could have been working continuously.


                  • Anil Gupta
                    Anil Gupta 20 Feb, 19 at 3:10 pm

                    My answer was specifically for when to start work on H1B status if you are currently on H4 (as mentioned on i94).

                    If you are working on H4 EAD, you can keep working using your H4 EAD card until your H1B is approved, at which point, USCIS will change your i94 status to H1B. You will find this new i94 attached to i797 H1B Approval. This would change your status from H4 to H1B.

            • Chandrasekhar Banda
              Chandrasekhar Banda 25 Feb, 19 at 1:36 pm

              I got info from one of the attorney. Even befor Feb 15 announcement, he said that USCIS will open premium only to a specific past date

          • Archana
            Archana 19 Feb, 19 at 11:28 am

            What is your source of information ? Good to hear though

      • World Citizen
        World Citizen 19 Feb, 19 at 9:36 pm

        Hi Anil,
        Thanks for your response. My present visa/I94 is about to expire in next few weeks, 3/31 to be exact. Post 3/31 once present I-94 expires can you please opine on below scenarios ?:

        1. Post 3/31, Can I still join my new employer because I already have the receipt notice ?

        2. Post 3/31 if I continue to stay at my present employer and visa extension is denied then should I leave the country immediately or can I just switch to the new employer based on receipt number, assuming transfer would still be in progress ?

        3. If I join new employer before 3/31 based on receipt and sometime in future if my transfer is denied should I leave the country immediately ?

        Your opinion would greatly help me. Thanks in advance.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 19 Feb, 19 at 10:07 pm

          If you want to join your H1B transfer employer, join them before i94 expiry.
          Do not wait for the denial on your extension. If denied, the situation will get a bit critical.

  4. Ravi
    Ravi 18 Feb, 19 at 10:35 am


    Can i initiate my visa transfer (change of employer) now in premium ? i am in Indiana state


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 11:06 am

      H1B transfer premium processing is not available for new cases at this time. You cannot file in premium.

      • Ravi
        Ravi 18 Feb, 19 at 1:12 pm

        Thank you!, any news when that is going to be started?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 2:39 pm

          No news as of today. I will update it as soon as we hear anything.

  5. Srikanth
    Srikanth 18 Feb, 19 at 10:21 am

    Case filed on 31st 2018 [California]
    As per i-129 validity – 05/31/2019

    *below dates are on assumption basis and best case scenario.*

    In this scenario, I’m proceeding with Premium processing. By Friday I might file the same. Hope will get the result by March 8th.

    Question 1: If hit with RFE will respond by March 22 and can I expect a result by April 5?

    Question 2: If the RFE response received on April 26. Do I’m eligible for Stamping and Travel, Since the validity of Visa will expire on 31st May 2019?

    Question 3: Can I process/submit my existing case with Latest/Updated SOW, while providing documents for RFE? because the latest SOW validity is 2022. Will they consider updated year?

    Question 4: Is there any Time difference to Visa Stamping and Travel w.r.t I-129 visa validity?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 11:07 am

      1. H1B RFE also gets processed in premium timeline if you upgrade your H1B to premium.

      2. You can apply for stamping anytime with your valid and approved H1B i797. There is no specific time limit.

      3. You can only submit the documents that USCIS requests in RFE.

      4. Your visa stamp validity will most probably be same as your I-129 approval validity.

      • Srikanth
        Srikanth 18 Feb, 19 at 12:42 pm

        Thanks for Quick response.

        1. Is there any minimum days prior to enter US with valid visa expiry date?

        For Example: my visa expires on 31st may 2019, by when im eligible to travel?

        2. Is there any minimum days prior to need to get visa Stamped?
        For Example: my visa expires on 31st may 2019, by when i should get stamping?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 2:47 pm

          There is no time limit to enter US based on valid H1B visa stamp. You can enter anytime as long as the H1B visa stamp has not expired.

          You can travel upto May 30, 2019 in your case.

          Visa and visa stamp are one and same thing.
          H1B petition and visa stamp are two different things.

          You are mixing both.

  6. Ravi
    Ravi 16 Feb, 19 at 12:06 am

    Hi Anil

    Could you please clarify on the below question:
    I have H1b with previous employer and visa got expired in August 2018.
    Now my current employer would like to process my H1B through Cap Exempt.
    As per new updates from USCIS, the above scenario is eligible for premium processing through Cap Exempt


    • Ravi
      Ravi 16 Feb, 19 at 12:48 am

      Hi Anil

      I worked in USA through previous employer for 1 year between 2015 to 2016. And My H1B Visa expired on Aug 2016. Currently i am in India.


      • Anil Gupta
        Anil Gupta 16 Feb, 19 at 8:52 am

        If you file your H1B cap exempt application now, it will not be eligible for premium processing as per new USCIS order.

        • Ravi
          Ravi 16 Feb, 19 at 9:35 am

          Thanks Anil for the quick response.

  7. Mohammed Sohail
    Mohammed Sohail 15 Feb, 19 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Anil, an employer has filed my petition for H1 transfer on Feb 5th 2019. I am among the unfortunate list of people who cannot use premium processing which is going to open from Feb 19. My current I-94 is valid until June-15, 2019. Please answer some of my questions:

    1. What are the approval odds of a H1 transfer versus H1 extension
    2. Under normal processing timeline, how long my transfer can take to get it approved
    3. Do you have an idea when the premium processing can start for the petitions filed after Dec 21, 2018.

    Eagerly waiting for your reply

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 10:59 pm

      H1B approval depends on the paperwork submitted by your employer. If all is good, odds of approval are same for both H1B extention and H1B Transfer.

      You can track current H1B processing time here.

      I don’t think premium processing will be enabled for at-least next 3 months.

      • Chandrasekhar Banda
        Chandrasekhar Banda 16 Feb, 19 at 5:09 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 not enable all premiums in next 3 months?

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

          It is my personal opinion based on past experience. It is up-to you to believe it or not.

          • Chandrasekhar Banda
            Chandrasekhar Banda 17 Feb, 19 at 1:29 pm

            Never In past premium suspension done more than 6 months except for cap subject petitions know?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 15 Feb, 19 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing. The article is already updated with the news. It is possible that you are not seeing it yet due to caching.

      • Sridevi Valluri
        Sridevi Valluri 15 Feb, 19 at 4:38 pm

        Yes , Thank you Anil

  8. Jiten Sharma
    Jiten Sharma 15 Feb, 19 at 6:00 pm

    Where can one see the filing date? Is it same as receipt date?

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

      Yes, filing date means the receipt date.

  9. Shamima Yesmin
    Shamima Yesmin 15 Feb, 19 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Anil,
    Need your help on H1b amendment consular processing timeline. Do you know how long it takes for H1b consular processing now-a-days?