Covid-19 Delays H-1B Process

At the end of March 2020, USCIS completed their lottery selection of potential H-1B beneficiaries and began notifying the relevant employers. Selected employers can begin to submit their H-1B applications starting April 1st. However due to Covid-19, USCIS recently announced that they will delay receipt notice and data entry of H-1B cap cases. Specifically, USCIS will delay those notices to May 1st, 2020.

If you are a beneficiary or employer who have submitted a H-1B petition, please be aware that receipt delay will also result in a delay in the adjudication of your case. For those who plan to file their H-1B petition with the premium processing service, please be aware that the premium processing service has been suspended for all I-129 and I-140 petitions.

USCIS recognizes that many of the H-1B cases are time sensitive. For example, new H-1B statuses take effect at the start of every fiscal year, i.e. October 1, and H-1B holders are eligible to begin working for their petitioning employers on this date. It’s often the case, however, that an F-1 student’s OPT period ends before October 1, usually in June or July, along with the student’s F-1 status. Accordingly, there is a period of several months during which the student loses both employment authorization and valid status.However, if your H-1B petition was filed before your OPT expired, and your H-1B status is slated to begin on October 1, you will be covered by the cap-gap extension and retain valid status until the H-1B adjudication process has finished.

Despite understanding that the filing of the H-1B petition is important for cap-gap extensions, USCIS is not offering any special exceptions for these rules during this time. Furthermore, USCIS is not offering an extension to the 90-day filing period for H-1B cases. 

At Zhang & Associates, we have successfully represented thousands of non-immigrant and immigrant visas cases.  Our experienced immigration attorneys are here to guide professionals through the complicated H-1B application process, and minimize any and all confusion or challenges. If you have a time sensitive H-1B case, we urge you to contact us soon. We understand how important an H-1B visa is to you, whether as the employer or the prospective employee. Our seasoned staff and years-long track record of success make Zhang & Associates the natural choice to facilitate your H-1B petitions. If you would like to contact us, please email us at

Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, EB-5, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past twenty-two years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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