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You Filed in the H-1B Cap Lottery! Now What? You Filed in the H-1B Cap Lottery! Now What?

You Filed in the H-1B Cap Lottery! Now What?

Now that FedEx has confirmed delivery of your H-1B cap petition to USCIS on April 1, what happens next for H-1B cap petitions? As in years past, it is expected that the number of H-1B cap petitions USCIS receives will greatly exceed the 65,000 visas available each year (“Regular cap”) plus the additional 20,000 reserved for foreign nationals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher (“Master’s cap”).

USCIS will then conduct a random lottery of all petitions received to select the petitions it will process and adjudicate. USCIS will conduct the Regular cap lottery first from all filed petitions (Regular and Master’s). Then, the lottery for the Master’s cap will be held for those qualifying petitions not selected in the Regular cap. Please see our prior article regarding the lottery for more information. After the lottery is conducted, USCIS will send out receipt notices for all H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. Typically, receipt notices for selected petitions are issued between late April and early June. After receipt notices are sent, USCIS will begin returning the petitions that were not selected in the lottery, typically between June and July.

For those petitions initially filed with Premium Processing, if selected in the lottery, the 15-day Premium Processing clock will begin no later than May 20, 2019. For petitions not initially filed with Premium Processing, USCIS is expected to allow the addition of Premium Processing in June, but possibly later. Please refer to our prior article regarding Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions.

Finally, USCIS has announced it has developed a new H-1B Employer Data Hub that will be available on its website on April 1. This Hub allows the public to search for H-1B sponsoring employers by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code. USCIS states this will give the public the ability to review which employers are using the H-1B program, and H-1B approval and denial rates will be listed on the Hub. There is no way to opt-out of the Hub, and it remains to be seen whether the Hub will be specific enough to list how many H-1Bs each employer files.

To discuss the H-1B visa program or any other immigration-related need, please contact Jenifer M. BrownChristl P. Glier, Kristin E. Kelley, or any member of Ice Miller’s Immigration Group.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

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