U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it received more than enough petitions during the initial filing period from April 1 to April 7 to fill the H-1B allocation for 2009.  This includes both the 20,000 “advanced degree” category and the “regular” 65,000 cap.    

What You Need to Know

  • Unless Congress increases H-1B availability, no new H-1Bs will be available until October 2009, with the filing period scheduled to begin on April 1, 2009.  Remember that extension, change-of-employer, and cap exempt employer (typically non-profit, educational and government institutions) filings are not subject to the cap.
  • If you filed an H-1B petition during the April 1 to April 7 filing period, that petition will be part of the USCIS H-1B “lottery” – a computer-generated random selection process for all cap-subject petitions received.  The 20,000 advanced degree cases will be selected first.  All advanced degree petitions not selected will then be part of the regular 65,000 lottery.
  • Cases selected during the lottery will receive receipt notices.  Cases not selected will be returned along with filing fees.  USCIS has not indicated when the lottery will be conducted or when notifications will be sent.  We expect it will take several weeks before notifications will occur.
  • Note that cap cases filed on behalf of F-1 students who have an OPT employment authorization expiring prior to October 1 may be able to benefit from the interim rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security on April 4.  For additional information, see the Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration eAuthority issued on April 7 at www.visatrax.com or the DHS’ announcement.  

Additional Information 

Visit http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/H-1B_8Apr08.pdf for the USCIS press release and www.visatrax.com for updates.  For more specific assistance with this or other immigration issues, please contact any attorney in our Immigration Practice Group or contact our Client Services Department at 866-287-2576 or via e-mail at clientservices@ogletreedeakins.com.

Note: This article was published in the April 9, 2008 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.


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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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