Last week United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would be suspending premium processing for all I-129 and I-140 petitions as a result of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the Coronavirus Disease. Even though premium processing is only temporarily unavailable, USCIS is still processing visa petitions, and this news does not affect the strength of your petition, nor our ability to handle your immigration needs.
Premium processing provides expedited processing for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Specifically, USCIS guarantee processing these forms within 15 calendar days to those who choose to use this service. This suspension does not affect petitions that have been filed without premium processing.
Effective March 20th, 2020 USCIS will not accept any new requests for premium processing. USCIS has stated that any petition with a previously accepted Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service will still be processed in accordance with the premium processing service criteria. However, USCIS has additionally stated that it would not be able to send notices using pre-paid envelopes, and that they will only send batch-printed notices.
Petitioners who have already filed a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker, or Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien workers using the premium processing service and who receive no agency action on their case within the 15-day period will receive a refund.
USCIS will reject the I-907 and return the $1,440 filing fee for all petitions requesting premium processing that were mailed before March 20 but not yet accepted.
This temporary suspension includes petitions filed for the following categories:
I-129: E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.
I-140: EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.
This includes new premium processing requests for all H-1B petitions, including H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year 2021, petitions from previous fiscal years, and all H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap.
USCIS previously announced the temporary suspension of premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject petitions and tentative dates for resumption of premium processing service. This new announcement expands upon and supersedes the previous announcement.
USCIS additionally announced that it would notify the public when it resumes premium processing.