We expected that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic would likely increase USCIS processing times, and we have our first glimpse of that today.  USCIS has announced that, effective today, March 20, it will not accept any new requests for premium processing for any petition filed on Form I-129 or Form I-140 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  This includes new premium processing requests for all H-1B petitions, including H-1B transfers and extensions.

It also includes this year’s H-1B cap-subject petitions.  USCIS previously announced earlier this week that premium processing would be temporarily suspended for cap-subject petitions and would resume using a two-phased approach on May 27.  Today’s announcement supersedes the announcement made earlier this week.  USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing.

USCIS did say that it would process any petition with a previously accepted premium processing request in accordance with premium processing service criteria, but also noted that employers that have already filed a petition using premium processing and that receive no agency action on its case within the 15-day period will receive a refund.

Be sure to check back often for the latest updates.