Today marks the first day that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept FY2015 H-1B cap-subject petitions for foreign national professionals in specialty occupations. With an annual H-1B visa cap of 85,000, this year’s cap is expected to be met within the first week of filing. Last year, nearly 124,000 H-1B petitions were filed within a few days of April 1st, prompting USCIS to utilize a lottery system to select a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the cap. EIG expects USCIS to utilize a lottery to select the 85,000 petitions to be receipted and adjudicated under this year’s cap.
USCIS will first randomly select 20,000 petitions filed under the U.S. Master’s cap; all remaining petitions will then fall into the Regular cap. USCIS will then randomly select 65,000 petitions under the Regular cap. Once all 85,000 petitions have been selected, USCIS will either issue a Receipt Notice (confirming selection) or return the petition and filing fees (confirming the petition was not selected in the lottery). This process typically takes 2-3 weeks for completion. Once the lottery is complete, USCIS will process and adjudicate the selected petitions.
Please note, H-1B cap petitions filed under premium processing, the 15 calendar day processing period, will begin on April 28, 2014 to allow USCIS sufficient time to complete the lottery process. H-1B cap petitions that were filed under regular processing may upgrade to premium processing by paying the $1,225 filing fee once a Receipt Notice has been issued.
EIG will continue to monitor developments with regard to the FY2015 H-1B cap and will provide updates as they become available.