H-1B Cap Met First Week of Filing: H-1B Lottery Update

USCIS announced late on Friday, April 5th that it has received more than 65,000 petitions for the H-1B “regular” cap and more than 20,000 for the H-1B U.S. master’s cap. April 5th was the last day USCIS would accept an H-1B cap petition for FY2014. Since USCIS received more petitions than are available in the current H-1B cap, USCIS will conduct a lottery for all cases received from April 1st through April 5th.

This is what to expect next:

  1. USCIS has not announced an official total number of petitions received, since they were still accepting cap cases on Friday, April 5th. They may announce the total number received in the coming days, and we will post that information here when it is available.
  2. USCIS will first conduct a lottery for the U.S. master’s degree cap cases. The agency has not announced a day that the lottery will be held. The lottery means that they will randomly select cases to accept for the cap, from all of the U.S. master’s degree cases received from April 1st through April 5th.
  3. Once the U.S. master’s cap lottery is done, USCIS will have a lottery for the “regular” (non-US master’s) H-1B cases. Note that any cases not selected in the U.S. master’s degree cap will go into this lottery. That is, a U.S. master’s degree cap case has two bites at the apple – the U.S. master’s lottery, and then the regular lottery (if not selected in the first lottery).
  4. For all cases that are selected in the lottery, we will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. We will email a copy of this receipt to the employee and employer when received.
  5. All cases that are not selected in the lottery will be returned to our office, with the USCIS filing fees. Will coordinate with employers on the return of those checks (the legal fees have already been earned and thus will not be returned, though we will not charge the full legal fee for any future re-filings). Also, as part of our value-added service, we will be happy to advise employees and employers on alternative options, should your case not be selected in the lottery. We will hold these conversations after the lottery results are known.

Please check back here regularly as we will continue to share information as it is available from USCIS. And please join us in thinking positive thoughts about your petition and its chances in the lottery!