On March 20, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the immediate and temporary suspension of premium processing services for all Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Forms I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers due to COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension includes new premium processing requests for H-1B petitions, including cap-subject petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2021, and supersedes the FY 2021 premium processing schedule announced on March 16, 2020.
USCIS will no longer accept any new requests for premium processing, although the agency will continue to process previously accepted Forms I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service in accordance with the standard criteria. Petitioners who have already filed a Form I-129 or Form I-140 with a request for premium processing and who do not receive any agency action within 15 calendar days will be issued a refund of the premium processing fee. USCIS will reject premium processing requests and return the filing fees for petitions mailed before March 20, 2020, but not yet receipted.
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 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.