United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that premium processing will be offered in a two phased procedure during the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 cap season starting on April 1. Premium processing costs $1410 and guarantees that USCIS will take adjudicative action on the application within 15 days. If USCIS fails to do so, the agency will return the fee but still expedite the application. Premium processing also guarantees that any RFE or NOID responses will also be adjudicated within 15 days. This service is usually suspended during the cap season, but USCIS is offering it this year in 2 parts. First phase will include cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status, and the second phase will include all other cap subject petitions. Change of status application refers to applicants who are currently in the United States on a different status (for example, student F1 status, TN status, etc.) and are applying to change their status to H-1B. All other cap subject petitions are applicants who are outside of the United States and will process their application through consular processing.
Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, may request premium processing by concurrently filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. However, USCIS will not begin premium processing immediately, instead USCIS will begin processing these applications no later than May 20, 2019. If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907. Until premium processing begins for these petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with a cap-subject Form I-129.
One of the changes that will also be implemented in the April 2019 filing period is the order of the cap lotteries. Now, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations. To learn more about the proposed changes, please click here. For information about the current H-1B cap procedure, please click here. To learn more about the H-1B visa and your eligibility, please click here.
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