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Immigration Bulletin – Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap/Lottery Premium Processing


U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that Premium Processing will be offered in two-phases during the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2020) cap season, so that the agency can avoid fully suspending the benefit as in previous years. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status, and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status may concurrently request premium processing using Form I-907, but, to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not immediately begin premium processing for these petitions. USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019, and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions.

If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907. Until premium processing begins for these petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with a cap-subject Form I-129. Petitioners must appropriately select response “b” for Item 4 in Part 2 of Form I-129 to be eligible to concurrently file Form I-907.

Premium processing for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 2019. Cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status may not submit their premium processing request concurrently with their H-1B petition. These petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing begins for this group. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status.

Premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.

Please remember that filing a petition with a request for premium processing does NOT increase the odds/chances that the petition will be selected in the lottery. However, it might be wise for a petitioner to file with an initial request for premium processing if there is a need for a quick decision on the case (assuming it is selected in the lottery), e.g., when the beneficiary has Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization that expires during the Summer and would not be eligible for a STEM extension. Without premium processing, USCIS can take several months or more to process a petition and it could be helpful to know sooner rather than latter whether the case has been selected and/or approved.

Obviously, each case is different and must be analyzed individually. Please contact any member of the Cohen & Grigsby Immigration Team if there are any questions and/or you would like to discuss in more detail what would be the best option for your case.

Please contact any member of the Cohen & Grigsby Immigration Department if you have any questions regarding the above at 412.297.4900. To receive future bulletins and news alerts, please send an e-mail to

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