Start of FY 2020 Cap Season
USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2020 cap on April 1, 2019, and will reject any FY 2020 cap-subject H 1B petitions filed before April 1. H-1B petitioners must follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence. Form M-735, Optional Checklist for Form I-129 H-1B Filings, provides detailed information on how to complete and submit an FY 2020 H-1B petition.
Premium Processing for FY 2020 Cap-Subject Petitions
Premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season so USCIS can best manage the premium processing requests. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.
Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners 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 Service. USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019. If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907. Until premium processing begins for these petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with a cap-subject Form I-129. Petitioners must appropriately select response “b” for Item 4 in Part 2 of Form I-129 to be eligible to concurrently file Form I-907.
Premium processing for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will begin by June 2019. Cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status MAY NOT submit their premium processing request concurrently with their H-1B petition. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status.
At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.
New H-1B Cap Selection Process
The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. Congress has set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. An advanced degree exemption from the H-1B cap is available for 20,000 beneficiaries who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.
For more information on the H-1B cap, and to subscribe to H-1B cap season email updates, visit the H-1B FY 2020 Cap Season page. For current Form I-129 processing times, visit the Check Case Processing Times page.