United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the annual H-1B quota for both the regular 65,000 visa petition bachelor’s degree cap and the 20,000 visa petition U.S. master’s degree cap has been met for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The exact number of petitions received has yet to be announced but will likely be shared in the coming weeks once all of the petitions are counted. Likewise, due to the high number of petitions received, USCIS has not yet confirmed when it will complete its computerized random selection, or “lottery,” of H-1B petitions for further processing.
As a reminder, under the lottery, USCIS will first randomly select H-1B petitions for the 20,000 visas eligible under the U.S. master’s cap. All unselected master’s degree petitions will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 visas subject to the general quota. USCIS will return all unselected cap-subject H-1B petitions, including the filing fee checks, after the random selection process has been run. As this selection process takes time for USCIS to fully complete, unselected cases may not be returned for several months.
Please note that, as of April 3, 2017, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing on all H-1B petitions, both cap and non-cap cases. Thus, all cases selected under the lottery will be processed under the regular processing timeline.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor H-1B developments, and will update the firm’s Immigration blog on timelines and other data as they are released.