FY 2017 H-1B Cap Lottery Completed! What’s Next for the H-1B Winners and Losers?

USCIS announced at the Spring AILA conference that the H-1B cap lottery should be completed as of April 11, 2016. As of the time of this blog post, there is no indication yet of the total number of petitions received.

USCIS officials still say premium processing for selected H-1B cap cases will start no later than May 16, 2016 (note: the premium processing period will not begin until USCIS announces that H-1B cap premium processing is beginning; it does not start as of the date of the H-1B premium processing email receipt notice) .

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 and June; we expect the same 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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