21:04 20 March in News Updates

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the immediate and temporary suspension of premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

When does the suspension take effect?

Effective today, March 20, 2020, USCIS will not accept any new requests for premium processing. USCIS will process any petition with a previously accepted premium processing request.  Petitioners who have already filed a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, using the premium processing service and who receive no agency action on their case within the 15-calendar-day period will receive a refund.

Which categories are impacted?

This temporary suspension includes petitions filed for the following categories:

  • I-129: E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.
  • I-140: EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.

What are the normal petition processing times?

For current Form I-129 and I-140 processing times, visit the Check Case Processing Times page on the USCIS website.

How will this impact status extensions?

As long as an extension was timely filed (on or before the date the current status), by regulation a beneficiary’s work authorization is automatically extended beyond the date of the current status expiration, for up to 240 days, or until the extension is adjudicated, whichever comes first.  The following nonimmigrant visa categories are eligible for the automatic 240 day extension:  E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, R-1,TN-1, TN-2

How will this impact H-1B change of employer petitions?

Immigration regulations allow individuals for whom an H-1B petition has been properly filed to accept new employment upon the filing of a new H-1B petition by a prospective employer.   Other nonimmigrant visa categories are not eligible to begin employment on filing of a petition.  Rather, they must wait for the petition to be approved before starting new employment.


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