Premium Processing for (Some) H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions Begins May 20, 2019

Posted: 04/01/19  |  Revised: 04/01/19

Premium processing is USCIS’s $1,410, 15-calendar day expedited processing service for certain petitions.  USCIS is offering premium processing for this year’s H-1B cap-subject (“lottery”) petitions in a two-phased approach: 

  • Phase One cases will include only those H-1B cap-subject (lottery) petitions that included the premium processing request in the initial filing with proper fee AND a request to change status. The 15-day clock for processing cases in this group will begin May 20, 2019. 
  • Phase One cases requesting change of status that were not initially filed under premium processing cannot be ‘upgraded’ to premium processing until on or after May 20, 2019. 
  • Phase Two cases will include remaining groups of H-1B cap-subject petitions.  The date for beginning processing cases in Phase Two will be announced in the future and the 15-day clock for cases in this second phase will not begin until at least June 2019. 

While USCIS typically uses pre-paid return mailers provided by petitioners to provide expedited return service for approval notices, the ability to utilize this service has been temporarily suspended for all cap-subject petitions until after June 3.  USCIS will send out H-1B cap FY2020 petition approval notices via regular mail until it is “operationally feasible” for USCIS to use pre-paid return mailers again.

Meanwhile, premium processing for H-1B cap-exempt petitions such as extension of status and change of employer cases remains available. 

We will provide further updates on this page when announced by USCIS.