U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun issuing the first batch of receipt notices for H-1B change-of-status petitions for fiscal year 2020 that requested premium processing at the time of filing.

USCIS announced April 11 that it had completed the lotteries to select H-1B cap petitions for adjudication after receiving 201,011 petitions in the first week of filing. Employers whose petitions were selected in the lottery will receive receipt notices and, if approved, employees may begin work in H-1B status Oct. 1.

Key points:       

  • During the filing period, premium processing requests were only accepted for change-of-status petitions, and the first receipt notices appear to cover only those petitions. The 15-day premium processing clock, however, will not begin on these petitions until May 20.
  • These are only the first receipt notices, and USCIS will continue to issue them over the coming weeks.
  • USCIS is expected to announce when it will begin premium processing on all other H-1B cap petitions. At that time, which is expected in June or later, employers whose petitions were selected in the lottery may upgrade them to request premium processing.

BAL Analysis: BAL has begun receiving premium processing receipt notices via email for H-1B cap-subject change-of-status petitions. It t is still very early and it will likely take weeks before all receipt notices are issued, at which point USCIS typically announces completion of the issuance. Employers and employees should wait for mailed receipt notices before making travel plans, as email issues have occurred in the past. BAL will continue to report all developments as cap season progresses.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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