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USCIS Suspends Premium Processing Due to COVID-19

Verma Law Firm

As of March 20, 2020, USCIS is no longer accepting premium processing requests. If you sent your request before this date and USCIS approved it, you will receive service at the rate you requested (i.e. 15 calendar days).

You will receive a refund of the fee if you applied for premium processing but:

  • You did not receive agency action within 15 calendar days;
  • USCIS did not accept your request before March 20th; or
  • You sent the request (Form I-907) after March 20th.

The program suspension applies to all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions, which applicants file for the following visas:

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

USCIS had previously suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions and announced tentative dates for resuming the service, but these tentative dates are no longer valid. While USCIS hasn’t specified when premium processing will resume for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions, it will notify the public when it has a confirmed date. If you are concerned about the current wait time for a petition, visit the Check Case Processing Times or H-1B page on the USCIS website.

Expediting Your Petition Without Premium Processing

If you meet certain criteria, you may be able to expedite your petition without the premium processing program. USCIS will review requests for expedited petitions on a case-by-case basis.

To qualify for an expedited petition, you will need to provide evidence demonstrating one or more of the following:

  • Urgent humanitarian reasons
  • U.S. government interests (i.e. for the Department of Defense or DHS)
  • USCIS error
  • A need for urgent action due to severe financial loss (so long as the loss is not the result of failing to file the request/petition or respond to requests for evidence in a reasonable time frame)

While USCIS states the suspension of premium processing is “due to COVID-19,” the announcement does not go into further detail about the agency’s reasoning. However, this is not the first time USCIS has suspended the program, and it has previously cited the need to lower wait times for all applicants or to handle an anticipated increase in petitions.

Let Verma Law Firm Address Your Concerns

Both employers and employees depend heavily upon the premium processing program to fill positions, secure employment opportunities, and grow businesses. If you believe this suspension may affect your business, your employment, or your intended immigration status, Verma Law Firm can help you find a solution. If you qualify for an expedited petition, we can help you file this request in a way that maximizes your odds of success.

COVID-19 is affecting every facet of our society and economy. While the future may be uncertain, the quality of service you will receive from Verma Law Firm is as dependable and exemplary as ever before. While our office is currently closed to the public, we are providing remote services online and by phone. Contact us at (408) 560-4622 to request your consultation today.


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