U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that premium processing will be available for the H-1B cap filing season for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The FY 2020 cap filing season will begin on April 1, 2019. USCIS will use a staggered approach to premium processing which will be implemented as follows:

Phase One: Requests for Changes of Status

  • Beginning on April 1, 2019, H-1B petitioners applying for a change of visa status (e.g., F-1 to H-1B) may file a request for premium processing concurrently with the H-1B petition.
  • USCIS will not begin processing premium for these requests immediately. Instead, it has allowed itself until May 20, 2019, to begin premium processing for change of status petitions. USCIS will notify the public before premium processing for these petitions officially begins.
  • If a petitioner does not file a premium processing request concurrently with a FY 2020 cap-subject petition, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit an upgrade request.

Phase Two: All Other Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions

  • Premium processing for all other cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June of 2019.
  • H-1B petitioners in this group may not file a request for premium processing concurrently with their H-1B petitions. Petitioners will have the opportunity to upgrade to premium processing at a later date.
  • USCIS will issue an announcement to provide a date on which phase two will begin.
  • Cap-exempt petitions, such as extensions of stay, remain eligible for premium processing.