U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129 and Form I-140 petitions in phases over the next month. On March 20, USCIS announced the temporary suspension of premium processing for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Effective June 1, 2020, USCIS will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for all eligible Form I-140 petitions.
Effective June 8, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for:
- H-1B petitions filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication and are cap-exempt (for example, petitions filed by petitioners that are cap-exempt and petitions filed for beneficiaries previously counted toward the numerical allocations); and
- All other Form I-129 petitions (non H-1B petitions) for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication.
Effective June 15, USCIS plans on resuming premium processing for:
- H-1B petitions requesting premium processing by filing an I-907 concurrently with their I-129 (or request for a petition filed on or after June 8) and are exempt from the cap because:
- The employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity or organization (such as an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization); or
- The beneficiary is cap-exempt based on a Conrad/IGA waiver under INA section 214(l).
Effective June 22, USCIS plans on resuming premium processing for all other Form I-129 petitions, including:
• All H-1B cap-subject petitions (including those for fiscal year 2021), including change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status, for both premium processing upgrades and concurrently filed I-907s; and
• All other Form I-129 petitions for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing and requesting premium processing by filing an I-907 concurrently with their I-129.
USCIS has noted that all dates are subject to change as it continues to take on more premium processing requests, and it will announce any changes to these dates accordingly.
By way of background, premium processing provides expedited processing for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Specifically, USCIS guarantees processing within 15 calendar days to those who choose to use this service, or it will refund the premium processing service fee and will continue with expedited processing. The 15-calendar-day period begins when USCIS properly receives the request for premium processing. Within the 15-calendar-day period, USCIS will either issue an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence, or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If the petition requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, a new 15-calendar-day period will begin when USCIS receives a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.