USCIS has announced that it conducted the H-1B lottery on April 11, 2018. USCIS received just over 190,000 H-1B petitions this year, exceeding the the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000, as expected. The number of application is down from last year, however, when 199,000 H-1Bs were filed.
USCIS uses a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019. USCIS conducted the lottery for the master’s cap first. All unselected master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.
USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing. USCIS will send receipt notices to petitioners and their counsel for those cases selected in the lottery. Those mailings should begin right away but can take some weeks to complete.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.