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.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.