U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today it will suspend premium processing requests for fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions when filing season opens April 1.

Key points:

  • During the suspension, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 Premium Processing Request concurrently filed with an H-1B cap-subject petition.
  • As with last cap season, USCIS has indicated that it will resume premium processing in two phases. The first phase will resume premium processing for FY2021 H-1B cap subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status. The second phase will resume premium processing for all other H-1B cap subject petitions.
  • Premium processing for change of status from F-1 status will resume on or before May 27.
  • Premium processing for all other H-1B cap petitions will resume on June 29 or later.
  • H-1B cap petitions will be eligible for upgrading to premium processing once USCIS resumes the service.
  • H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap remain eligible for premium processing.

BAL Analysis: Petitioners should factor in the suspension in premium processing. Additionally, a USCIS regulation is pending that, once finalized (at the earliest this spring), will lengthen the premium processing window to approximately three weeks instead of the current two. The earliest that premium processing is expected to be available for consular H-1B cap petitions is June 29. Petitioners may therefore anticipate that the earliest they would receive a response on these petitions is late July. Clients may log onto BAL’s dedicated H-1B Electronic Registration Resource Center for the latest news updates, FAQs, analysis and podcasts related to H-1B cap season.

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

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