Everyday you hear news of how it is becoming more and more difficult to enter the States. This trend is showing no signs of relief, thanks to the Trump govt. The denial rate of H-1B visas has touched 24% in the third quarter of the current fiscal year, from 6% in FY2015.
This time however, it is not the President himself who is trying to keep immigrants off the shore of America. It is in fact the Covid-19 pandemic fears doing the job.
The USCIS has announced on Monday that it will temporary suspend the premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
USCIS Suspends Premium H-1B Petition Filings
Petitioners filing FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not be able to request premium processing when USCIS begins accepting these on April 1, 2020. Until premium processing resumes for FY 2021 H-1B petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 concurrently filed with a H-1B Form I-129.
It has said that it shall carry on the premium-processing in a two-phased manner during the FY2021 season, similar to what it has done in the past, so as to best manage premium processing requests.
- The first phase will include FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, requesting a change of status from F-1 non immigrant status.
- The second phase will include all other FY 2021 cap-subject petitions. This has been done in order to reduce overall H-1B processing times.
USCIS to Resume Premium Processing from June 29, 2020
USCIS will resume premium processing for FY 2021 H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 non immigrant status no later than May 27, 2020 and will notify the public before premium processing resumes for these petitions.
The earliest date that it has come to resume premium processing for all other FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions is June 29, 2020.
At present, the US has suspended issuing visas in India and a few other countries on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. It remains to be seen how long this suspension remains in place, and it could possibly lead to a delay in the application filing process, said immigration lawyers.
Petitioners filing FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing resumes, as applicable. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing for FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions.