USCIS Announces Start of FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season and More Important Updates

March 20, 2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the start of fiscal year FY 2020 H-1B cap season and additional important updates.

Premium Processing for FY 2020 Cap-Subject Petitions

What Do I Need to Know?

During FY 2020 cap season, USCIS will offer premium processing in a two-phased approached to manage these requests without suspending premium processing, as has occurred in previous years.

Here’s a breakdown of the two phases:

  • The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B visa petitions requesting a change of status
  • The second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions

In sum, petitioners can use premium processing for change of status H-1B visa petitions, whereas there is a waiting period for all other petitions. Premium processing for the first phase will begin no later than May 20, 2019, according to USCIS. Premium processing for the second phase will begin sometime in June 2019.

To request a change of status on Form I-129, petitioners will also need to concurrently file Form I-907. Petitioners who are not requesting a change of status will not be able to submit their premium processing request concurrently with the H-1B visa petition. They will be able to upgrade to premium processing once it starts for the second phase.

New H-1B Cap Selection Process

What Do I Need to Know?

As Envoy and Global Immigration Associates previously discussed, USCIS will reverse the order by which it selects H-1B visa petitions. Starting with FY 2020 cap season, petitions for the H-1B regular cap will be selected first and then petitions toward the master’s or advanced degree cap will be selected.

Can I add premium processing to my case or to the case for my sponsored employee?

As noted above, if the petition is for a change of status to H-1B, the petition would be eligible for premium processing when the case is submitted during the first week of April. However, GIA has finalized several petitions and if finalized, GIA would not be able to add premium at this time as the petition has already been sealed and prepped for shipment on March 29. Provided you are accepted into the H-1B cap lottery, you could always add a premium request at that point which we’d gladly assist you with. 

If you are not filing for a change of status, otherwise known as a consular processing case, Envoy and GIA will release specific instructions in June about when the request can be added so we can add that to the case if accepted into the lottery.

Please note as well that premium processing will not increase your chances of being accepted into the lottery. If you have any questions or want to know if you are eligible, please post to your Envoy communication center.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ryan Bay, who is the Director of Legal Operations at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

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