Bloomberg Law
March 17, 2020, 2:43 PM

Fast-Track Option for H-1B Visas Delayed Until End of June

Genevieve Douglas
Genevieve Douglas

Employers are unlikely to get their petitions for high-skilled guestworkers fast-tracked until June 29 at the earliest, when the option will resume in a two-phased approach.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the suspension of premium processing for fiscal year 2021 will apply to H-1B petitions subject to the annual 85,000 cap. Once premium processing is restored, the first phase will include H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 student visas. The second phase will include all other FY 2021 cap-subject petitions, the agency said Monday.

The temporary suspension is meant to reduce overall H-1B processing times, and is similar to last year’s suspension, according to the USCIS. Last year, the average processing time for the form required to obtain an H-1B visa was five months. Premium processing allows employers to pay an extra fee for their petitions to be serviced within 15 days.

The announcement comes as the registration process for employers hoping to hire H-1B workers nears its end on March 20. Those registrations will then be put through a lottery, and companies will receive notice of selection by March 31.

Last year, employers submitted 201,011 petitions for fiscal year 2020.

Premium processing remains available for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, the agency said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at; John Lauinger at