The Global Pandemic COVID-19 created much change in the way cases were being processed by USCIS. On the 20th of March 2020, USCIS had placed a temporary halt on Premium Processing for all i-129 and i-140 Petitions. All cases submitted after the 20th could no longer receive a fast track to their cases.
This service Premium Processing Service is an expedited processing service that USCIS offers to Petitioners who wish to pay extra to speed up their cases from regular processing time to 15 days. It is not a mandatory service and it is offered by the American immigration services on most work petitions both temporary or permanent. For an additional fee of $1440, Petitioners would benefit from a speedy turnover time and the advantage to receive a fax and email correspondence rather than fashioned post.
On June 1st, 2020, USCIS began to resume premium processing for I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. The USCIS decided to allow for the i-907 request for premium processing to be submitted gradually in order to not be overwhelmed with too many cases at the same time.
On the 8th of June 2020, USCIS will allow further types of premium processing to be accepted such as cases of H-1B petitions that are filed before June 8 and pending adjudication and are cap-exempt. Furthermore, all other I-129 petitions (non-H1B petitions) for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing filed before June 8 will also be accepted.
On June 15th, 2020, the USCIS expects to be able to resume the i-907 premium processing requests for H-1B petitions requesting premium processing in relation with their I-129 and are exempt from the cap because; the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity or organization. Moreover, if the beneficiary is cap-exempt based on a Conrad/IGA waiver under INA section 214(l) they can also submit an i-907 request.
USCIS expects that on June 22, 2020, a full return of the Premium processing will be possible which will include: H-1B cap-subject petitions (including those for the fiscal year 2021), including change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status, for both premium processing upgrades and concurrently filed I-907s. Furthermore, all other I-129 petitions for nonimmigrant classifications such as L1 Intercountry Transfers and O1, extraordinary ability and E1, and E2 – treaty traders and investor visas are eligible for premium processing and requesting premium processing by filing an I-907 concurrently with their I-129 will also be eligible.
However, it is to note that all these dates are tentative and may be changed at any time by USCIS whether it be to accept more premium processing at an earlier date or to push back the timeline if it overwhelmed the employees.
DRSI LAW will keep you updated