USCIS today announced that premium processing (PP) will be offered in a two-phased approach during this year’s cap season. The first phase will be for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other cap-subject petitions.
First Phase: starting April 1, only cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status may request PP. However, USCIS will not begin PP for these petitions immediately. At this time, USCIS can only commit to beginning PP for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019. That is, the 15-day “clock” for PP service may not start until as late as May 20th. Also, if a petitioner does not request PP concurrently with the H-1B petition, the petitioner must wait until PP service begins to submit a PP upgrade request.
Second Phase: PP for all other cap-subject H-1Bs (e.g., consular processing) will not begin until at least June 2019. These petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to PP by filing Form I-907 once premium processing begins for this group (specific date to be announced later).