FY 2016 H-1B Cap Lottery Completed! What’s Next for the H-1B Winners and Losers?

USCIS announced today that it has completed the lottery for the FY 2016 H-1B cap petitions received. The agency reports receiving approximately 233,000 cap-subject petitions, including US master’s degree petitions.

USCIS officials say premium processing for selected H-1B cap cases will start no later than May 11, 2015.

What Happens Next?

1. We should begin receiving receipt notices for our clients’ cases that were selected in the H-1B lottery within the next several weeks. Please keep in mind that in recent years, this process has taken a number of weeks. Just because we do not receive a receipt notice immediately does not mean that your case was not selected. In recent years we have received receipt notices and rejections through May; the process may take longer this year in light of the higher filing volume.

2. We will also receive rejections – cases not selected in the H-1B lottery - over the next several weeks.

3. We will notify the employer immediately as soon as we receive either a receipt or a rejection. Given the volume of filings, we ask that H-1B candidates contact their employer directly with any questions about the receipt/rejection of the H-1B filing.

4. If an H-1B petition is selected, USCIS will either:

a. Approve the case, or

b. Issue a request for evidence asking for additional information. Again, we will coordinate directly with the employer if there is an RFE.

In either event, the H-1B candidate cannot start working in H-1B status until October 1, assuming the petition is approved.

5. If an H-1B petition is not selected in the lottery, the H-1B petition will be returned to our office. The USCIS filing fee checks will not be cashed. We will provide further posts in the future about alternative options to H-1B status.

6. If you are currently in F-1 status and plan to take advantage of the cap gap provisions, be sure to have your educational institution issue an updated I-20 to reflect your continued F-1 status and continued work authorization. The school official will need a copy of the I-797 (receipt notice) for this purpose.

Keep your fingers crossed for H-1B lottery success, and we will continue to keep our clients posted on further developments!

If you need assistance with a family-based or employment-based immigration matter, please contact our offices at 804-396-3412.

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