H1B Premium Processing Suspended

Anil Gupta  18 Mar, 19      460  USA USA News Work in USA - H1B, L Visa

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.

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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 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.

Start the discussion at forum.am22tech.com

Old Comments

   Read all 460 Q & A

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  1. Rupesh Singh   21 Feb, 19 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Anil,
    I have a valid I797 (valid till: 31-Dec-2019) from employer A but now I joined employer B on receipt notice. Because of premium is not an option for now as my receipt notice date is after 21-dec-2018 which is 28-Dec-2018. I am waiting to bring my family on H4.
    Can I schedule H4 stamping for dependents on behalf of approved I797 from employer A even I am working with employer B on receipt?

    • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 4:23 pm

      You can schedule your dependent’s H4 stamping using approved H1B from previous employer.
      Just make sure you send your current h1B transfer notice receipt too and have your dependent’s carry it.

      • Rupesh Singh   21 Feb, 19 at 4:24 pm

        Thanks Anil for quick response.
        So during the Interview Printout of approved I797 and h1B transfer notice receipt will work?
        Also during DS160, it will ask the employer contact (name/ email/phone etc) so I should mention for Previous employer A or current employer B?

        • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 4:37 pm

          You should mention the new employer that you are currently working with in DS 160 as per my understanding.

          • Rupesh Singh   26 Feb, 19 at 2:55 pm

            Hi Anil,
            Thanks for response.
            my I797 (transfer to new employer B) got approved now. So for H4 stamping will it be eligible for drop box or dependent needs to go for interview? Please suggest.

            • Anil Gupta   26 Feb, 19 at 2:56 pm

              The approval of i797 does not affect Dropbox eligibility.

            • Rupesh Singh   26 Feb, 19 at 3:15 pm

              but if my employment is changed and now I will send my current employer document for H4. so question is if employer of H1b holder change then H4 is eligible to drop box or not?

            • Anil Gupta   26 Feb, 19 at 3:17 pm

              Did you check Dropbox eligibility using the app link that i shared in my earlier response?
              You will get the answer if you check it.

            • Rupesh Singh   26 Feb, 19 at 3:17 pm

              Yes. now I checked it and got my answer. Thank you Anil for responding so quickly.

  2. I have approved H1B Petition but I got 221g my employer did not reply from past one year , Can I Change the employer and apply for cap exempt visa.

    • Chandrasekhar Banda   21 Feb, 19 at 12:32 pm

      Have you evere worked in USA with any approved H1 before?

      • NO after the 221g I came to us on H4 , currently I am on H4

        • Hi Chandrasekhar thanks for the reply is there any chance for me to change the employer and apply for cap exempt.

          • Chandrasekhar Banda   21 Feb, 19 at 1:39 pm

            You dont have chance to apply with cap exempt as you never worked on any approved H1 before. You should go through lottery again

            • I do have valid approval petition right and my currently employer revoked my petition and I heard like I can apply for fresh H1B on cap exempt is that not right. If you don’t mind can you please share your mobile number to my email ravichavaa@gmail.com so that I can explain it better.

    • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 3:08 pm

      If I understand your question correctly, you got form (221) g at the time of H1B visa stamping? Am i correct?

      You must have applied for H4 stamp separately and got it stamped and entered USA?
      Is that correct?

      Please tell more about your situation to help me understand and then answer your question.

      • Hi Anil thanks for the reply yes whatever you are saying is correct

        • Hi Anil the employer who applied my H1b revoked it , I want to know whether I can change the employer and apply for cap exempt.

          • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 4:24 pm

            You can file for H1B transfer if you can find an h1B sponsor now that you are in USA based on your approved H1B from earlier employer.

            You will need to file H4 to H1B Change of status application and can start working only when H1B is approved.

            This application will be counted as cap-exempt and no need to go through lottery.

            • Thanks a lot for the info Anil , One last thing is premium processing available for transferring H4 to H1B.

            • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 9:48 pm

              Premium is not available at this time for H4 to H1B change of status application.

            • Hi Anil one question now as my wife is on H1b she needs an extension now , My question is when our extension is in process can I apply for a status change like H4 to H1B.

            • Anil Gupta   22 Feb, 19 at 5:11 pm

              You can apply for anything anytime but remember that as you apply for multiple things, you add complications to your case.

            • Hi Anil, I just want to know current time limit it is taking for I140 approval from start to end.

            • Hi Anil one doubt should Look for a H1B sponsor for my old H1B or else should I go ahead and apply for a fresh H1B this year please suggest

            • That’s your choice based on what you feel confident with. You can file both and then later choose the one that gets approved.

              If you have an employer ready to sponsor you, they will probably like to use your existing cap subjected H1B as they don;t want to wait for an year to get your H1B lottery approval.

            • Thanks Anil for the reply , one question if I get a sponsor for my old H1B petition should I go back to India for stamping then only I can start working how is it going to work out/

            • Your employer will file for your H4 to H1B change of status application and if approved, there is no need to go to India for stamping.

            • Hi Anil one doubt should Look for a H1B sponsor for my old H1B or else should I go ahead and apply for a fresh H1B this year please suggest

            • Anil Gupta   27 Feb, 19 at 4:27 pm

              That’s your choice based on what you think will get approval easily.

            • Anil Gupta   27 Feb, 19 at 4:27 pm

              That’s your choice based on what you think will get approval easily.

            • Hi Anil one question as you told that I am eligible for cap-exempt can I know is their any time bound for applying for cap-exempt visa

            • Anil Gupta   13 Mar, 19 at 8:40 pm

              No time limit but it is good if you apply within 6 year.

            • Ok thanks Anil

        • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 4:09 pm

          Can you share what documents were requested in your form 221(g)?

  3. Hi Is H1B premium processing available, I did not understand this statement H1B Premium Processing Suspended – Open for Filing before Dec 21, 2018. Can any one help me with this

    • Anil Gupta   21 Feb, 19 at 3:08 pm

      H1B premium processing is open for H1B applications filed on or before Dec 21, 2018 and are currently pending with USCIS.

  4. abin paulose   20 Feb, 19 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Anil,
    My wife is in H4 and planning to change to F1. I have two options filing COS or going to India for stamping, because of funding she needs to be in F1 before joining the university. What should I do in this situation?
    Is there any chance for COS premium to kick start ?
    1. Only on May we will get all the admission documents.
    2. Current H4 will expire on December 2019 , need to join university on Auguest 2019


  5. Hi Anil,
    My employer has file an amendment along with my H-1B extension to California service center initially on 1/11/19. But now I see that application has transferred to Vermont center. As today my application is in Vermont center, can we still apply premium on it?

    • one more questions: if I am not eligible for premium processing then can we withdraw the pending application and just file an extension with eligible center which accept the premium.

      • Anil Gupta   20 Feb, 19 at 2:21 pm

        Your H1b Amendment + extension application is not eligible for premium processing at any USCIS service center at this time. So, no use of withdrawing and sending it somewhere else.
        Only ‘No change’ H1B extensions are eligible for Premium processing at Nebraska service center.

        • Hi Anil,
          Thank you very much for your reply.
          We haven’t send it to Vermont service center, USCIS only transfer my application from California to Vermont service center.

          Now, premium processing not available, my wife will loss her job. so, I talked to my employer and they are in process of finding out that, we withdraw the Amendment and just file as “No Change” H1B extension with premium processing along with my wife H4 extension.

          So, is withdraw of amendment is available?

  6. Hi Anil,

    Does Texas Service Center not process H1B transfers, extensions or amendments? I don’t see a mention of Texas service center, so wondering what is the process in Texas Service Center for premium processing for H1B transfers, extensions or amendments.


  7. Arun Kumar   20 Feb, 19 at 5:13 am

    Hi Anil,

    My 7th year H1B extension with employer A got denied and I have an approved I-140 petition with them. I got terminated from employer A within 6 months of
    I-140 approval due to extension denial. I have traveled to India. Right now 6 months is over and Employer B has filed for H1B extension using employer A’s approved I-140 petition through consular processing. Plan is to convert it to premium once its open for all categories. I have two questions.

    1. Will there be any issue in the new H1B peition through employer A’s I-140 approval in consular processing since I got terminated from Employer A within 6 months of I-140 approval?
    2. Since I’m in India, will consular processing be done at US consulates in India or at the USCIS processing centers in USA?


    • Anil Gupta   20 Feb, 19 at 6:31 am

      If your employer A has not withdrawn the i140 yet, then there is no problem in getting employer B’s H1B transfer approved. Termination from employer A’s employment should not affect your i140 unless employer A filed for i140 revocation.

      H1B Consular processing means getting H1B visa stamp in your passport through US embassy. Before getting the H1B stamp, your H1B transfer petition has to be approved by USCIS processing center in USA.
      So, it is a 2 step process for you.

  8. jyotsna nammi   19 Feb, 19 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Anil,
    I have applied for transfer and got the receipt this week, going to work with new employer from next month ,i have my old i94/petition valid till next year May,
    the problem here is i need to travel to India in May and i dont see premium for recent h1 is available yet? if i leave the country ,will there be issues when i come back after 15 days? Please let me know any info will be helpful!!!!

  9. I want to recapture time spent outside U.S for H1 extension (total is 11 months) , my 2nd H1 period ends in June 2019 , if No Premium processing , should I exist U.S on June and wait for approval outside US since processing time now is 365 days ?

    same employer , work address , job title etc , will this give me ability to do premium processing ?
    any how if I choose not to go with Premium processing , should I wait outside US after June 2019 ?

    Thanks in advance .

    • I strongly suggest to file for H1B extension in premium to recapture your 11 months vacation time outside USA.
      H1B ‘No change’ extensions can be filed at Nebraska service center with premium option.

      Even if you do not file in premium, you can stay and keep working with pending H1B extension if the recapture time has been calculated correctly.

  10. Hi,
    My wife is on H4 now. She was working with H1B visa in 2017 and moved back to H4. She would like to move to H1 (Change of status) now. Whether we can file her COS petition premium or do we need to wait until the premium processing is open for all categories. Please clarify.

    • Anil Gupta   19 Feb, 19 at 6:09 pm

      There is no need to wait for H1B premium processing to open and then file your application. You can file now and upgrade to Premium later as and when it become available.
      Please note that you cannot start work on H1B unless the H4 to H1B Change of status is approved.

      • Hi Anil,

        I have a doubt , COS can be applied only after getting a job right ? Since you mentioned like one need not wait till premium processing resumes so was confused . As we cannot start working till h1 approves there is no use in applying for COS right .

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