On April 13, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data entry and the generation of receipt notices would be delayed until at least May 1, 2020, for fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions.
The following is a summary of the key information provided by USCIS:
- USCIS will not immediately begin data entry for petitions received during the H-1B filing window that began on April 1, 2020, and runs for 90 days.
- Each petition will be stamped with the date it was received at the service center.
- Once data entry commences, USCIS will process petitions in the order of receipt.
- The 90-day filing window remains unchanged. All FY 2021 H-1B cap petitions must be received by June 30, 2020.
- Petitioners are encouraged to wait to inquire about their case status with USCIS until they have received a receipt notice.
- Employers can expect a “general delay” in the processing of FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions.
USCIS stated that it was “mindful” of cap-gap petitions and other petitions with sensitive expiration or start dates. The agency stated that it would process those petitions as “efficiently as possible.”
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration Blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Critical information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.