Premium Processing Will Be Available in “Two Phases” for H-1B Petitions Filed in the Upcoming Lottery
USCIS announced today that premium processing will be offered in a “two-phased approach” for H-1B petitions filed in this year’s lottery. In the first phase, which will begin on April 1, 2019, USCIS will accept requests for premium processing for H-1B petitions filed with a request to change status. In the second phase, which is expected to begin in June, USCIS will accept requests for premium processing for H-1B petitions that were filed with a request for consular notification.
According to its announcement, USCIS will not start adjudicating petitions filed with a request for premium processing in the first phase immediately, but it expects to start no later than May 20, 2019, and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions. If an employer decides not to file a request for premium processing with an H-1B petition in the first phase, the employer will need to wait until premium processing begins before it can upgrade a pending petition to premium processing.
Premium processing for H-1B petitions filed in this year’s lottery that request consular notification will not be available until at least June 2019. Once premium processing begins for these petitions, employers can upgrade the petitions to premium processing by filing the request. USCIS will notify the public when premium processing becomes available for these petitions.
By way of background, USCIS offers “premium processing” of certain visa petitions for an additional fee of $1,410 under which USCIS guarantees either a decision or request for evidence within 15 calendar days. It also generates receipt and approval notices electronically (in advance of the paper notices) and has a dedicated email and phone number for communicating with USCIS.
This alert is for informational purposes. Please contact us if you would like to discuss this development further.