USCIS Suspends Premium Processing for All I-129 and I-140 due to COVID-19

USCIS Suspends Premium Processing for All I-129 and I-140 due to COVID-19

The global pandemic ‘COVID-19’ has disrupted the daily life activities of people around the world to a large extent. Along with restrictions on inter-state and inter-city movements, international travel has also been banned by governments of countries.

As uncertainty lies around the date when the restrictions will be lifted, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended premium processing for all I-129 and I-140 petitions.

What are Form I-129 and I-140?

Form I-129 and Form I-140 are petitions filed by employers for sponsoring different categories of visas that permit foreign national employees to work in the United States of America.

Form I-129 is used for E-1, E-2, H1-B, H2-B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1, and TN-2 visa categories. Form I-140 is used for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visa categories.

What is Premium Processing?

Every year, USCIS receives thousands of I-129 and I-140 petitions from employers across industries and cities in the USA. Due to the immense workload, USCIS can take up to months for processing the applications for employment authorization. Therefore, employers who want prospective employees to start working as soon as possible choose the method of premium processing.

If a petition is filed with premium processing request by paying $1440 and submitting Form I-907 along with Form I-129 or Form I-140, it gets processed within 15 days, thereby making employment and immigration easy for both employer and employee.

What is I-120 and I-140 Suspension?

Acceptance of premium processing requests for I-120 and I-140 petitions has been suspended from 20th March 2020 in the wake of the ongoing crisis of coronavirus disease until further notice. So, any new request made after the announcement will not be accepted. USCIS will update the public whenever this temporary suspension will be decided to end.

In case of an H1-B visa petition (which is made through Form I-129), the temporary suspension of premium processing applies to all kinds of H1-B visa petitions, including H1-B cap-subject petitions made for the fiscal year 2021, petitions from previous fiscal years, and cap-exempt H1-B visa petitions. It also applies to petitions filed for the H1-B amendment, H1-B extension, and transfer of another visa type to an H1-B visa.

Premium processing requests (made through Form I-907) for petitions mailed with Form I-129 and Form 1-140 before 20th March 2020 but not yet accepted will be rejected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In this case, petitioners will receive a refund of a $1440 premium processing filing fee.

The previously accepted requests for premium processing of I-129 and I-140 petitions will be processed in compliance with the premium processing service criteria. Only batch-printed notices will be sent by USCIS. Pre-paid envelopes will not be used for sending notices.

Expedite Request for Petition

Though premium processing for petitions is suspended, request for expediting petitions that meet the required criteria can be made.

Important Point to Consider

This announcement regarding suspension of premium processing supersedes the previous announcement made regarding temporary suspension of premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H1-B visa petitions and tentative dates for resumption of premium processing service.

Note: The information shared in this article is derived from the announcements made by USCIS. For further clarification or resolving your queries, you can speak to an immigration attorney. We will keep posting the latest updates on this matter.