H-1B Lottery Completed After H-1B Cap Reached

On April 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received approximately 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period that ended on April 7, 2017. This includes the advanced degree cap. USCIS conducted the computer-generated lottery on April 11, 2017, selecting enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. This is a significant drop (15.7% decrease) from FY 2017 (April 2016) when USCIS received 236,000 H-1B applications.

Cases that are selected as part of the H-1B lottery will receive receipt notices within the next 2-3 weeks. For petitions not selected as part of the H-1B cap, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees. Based on our experience in the last few years, rejections were a low priority for USCIS and were received between May and July.

Applicants will not know whether their cases have been selected until they either get a receipt notice or the rejected package. Checking to see if the government filing fee checks have been cashed is one way to get an “early” indication that a case has been selected as part of the H-1B lottery.

Please feel free to contact the Loke Walsh Immigration Law team if you have any questions.