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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season and several updates and changes. As in previous years, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2020 H-1B cap on April 1, 2019. Any H-1B cap petitions filed before this date will be automatically rejected by USCIS. Petitioners for these H-1B cap petitions are required to follow all regulatory requirements.

Premium Processing

USCIS will be offering premium processing service in a two-phased approach for the FY 2020 H-1B cap season.

First phase: Beginning on April 1, FY 2020 H-1B cap petitions requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker may request premium processing by concurrently filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, with all applicable filing fees for premium processing service. If selected, USCIS will not begin premium processing for FY 2020 H-1B cap petitions immediately. USCIS will notify the public when premium processing will begin, no later than May 20, 2019. If a petitioner wishes to submit a Form I-907 to request premium processing for a FY 2020 H-1B cap petition that has already been filed with USCIS, they must wait until after USCIS announces to the public that they will begin premium processing. A Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap petition before this public announcement will be automatically rejected by USCIS.

Second phase: Premium processing for all other FY 2020 H-1B cap petitions (i.e. not requesting a change of status) will not begin until at least June 2019. As such, these may not file a Form I-907 concurrently with their H-1B cap petitions and must wait to upgrade to premium processing until after USCIS announces they will be accepting premium processing upgrades for these types of H-1B cap petitions.

Other cases: At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the FY 2020 H-1B cap remains available.

New H-1B Employer Data Hub Publicly Available

USCIS announced a new H-1B Employer Data Hub that will be available on uscis.gov on April 1. This data hub is intended to increase the transparency of the H-1B program by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company name, city, state, and/or zip code.

New H-1B Cap Selection Process

As mentioned in a previous article, USCIS will be reversing the order by which they select H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and H-1B master’s cap (advanced degree exemption) this FY 2020 H-1B cap season. This changing of order is expected to increase the chances that more H-1B visas will be granted to those with advanced degrees from a U.S. institution of higher education.

To remain up to date on the FY 2020 H-1B cap season, you can visit USCIS’s H-1B FY 2020 Cap Season page. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions regarding this matter.