USCIS Resumes Premium Processing on Phased Schedule Beginning June 1, 2020

May 29, 2020

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Friday that it will resume premium processing for certain petitions in phases over the next month.[1] Petitions using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, such as H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers for permanent residency applications, will be eligible for premium processing based on the schedule below, which is subject to change.

  • 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, 2020, 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
  • 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, 2020, 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, 2020, 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.
  • 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 will announce any changes to the above schedule as it begins to receive premium processing requests. We advise employers to review any currently pending cases and to determine whether any may need to be “premium processed” to avoid any gaps in work authorization. Premium processing requests should be prepared in advance to be timely filed according to the proposed schedule.

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If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Washington, DC
Eric S. Bord
Shannon A. Donnelly
Eleanor Pelta

Laura C. Garvin

[1] Premium processing of petitions had been suspended as of March 20, 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read our prior alert on the suspension.