Due to COVID-19, USCIS announced that as of March 20, 2020, it is immediately suspending premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice. USCIS also said that petitioners that have already filed a form requesting premium processing will receive refunds if their cases are not acted on within the 15 calendar-day period. This may well indicate the agency does not expect that it will be able to meet those deadlines – even for petitions filed prior to March 20th.
This suspension will apply to Form I-129 petitions filed for E, H, L, O, P, Q, R, and TN status and to Form I-140 petitions for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories. It also encompasses all H-1B cap cases including all H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap. USCIS previously announced a more limited suspension applying only to cap cases but the March 20th announcement supersedes that.
At the same time, USCIS announced that it will loosen its original signature requirements including those for Form I-129 during the national emergency. Original signed documents must be retained.
Jackson Lewis will continue to provide updates on changes in processes and guidance as they become available during the COVID-19 crisis.