20:20 06 April in News Updates



As expected, USCIS announced today that the H-1B cap for FY2019 has been reached for both “regular” and “master’s” cap cases.

All cap-subject petitions received at USCIS between Monday, April 2, 2018 and Friday, April 6, 2018 will be entered into a random lottery for the available visas.  Please note that LAC has received FedEx delivery confirmation to USCIS of all H-1B petitions we filed subject to the cap. 

Petitions selected in the lottery will proceed to adjudication.  If approved, the earliest effective date of H-1B status will be October 1, 2018.

USCIS continues to accept H-1B petitions which are not subject to the cap.   For additional information, please see USCIS Reaches FY2019 H-1B Cap.

USCIS has not announced the number of petitions received this week.  In FY2018, 199,000 petitions were filed for the roughly 85,000 visas available; in FY2017 there were 236,000 filings.

Lottery notification timeline:    Notifications of lottery “winners” will likely begin in late April and continue through July.   In FY2018, USCIS completed data entry for all cap-subject cases by May 3, 2017; notifications of acceptance in/ rejections for the lottery were not complete until July 19, 2017.   Adjudication of some petitions were not completed until September 2017.

Cases selected in the lottery:  LAC will forward the receipt notice for any petitions selected in the lottery to the employee (via the employer) as soon as it is received.

Cases not selected in the lottery:  H-1B petitions that are not selected in the lottery will be returned to counsel with the government filing fees.  LAC will notify impacted clients upon receipt of the returned petitions, and promptly refund the USCIS filing fees to the employer.

Premium processing:     Premium processing remains suspended through approximately September 10, 2018.  See USCIS To Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for FY2019 H-1B Cap Petitions.  Note that premium processing would only advance the time frame for notice and adjudication of the petition.  It would not increase the chances of selection in the lottery, nor would it advance the start date of employment for a cap-subject petition, which remains October 1, 2018.  The main effect of the suspension is that employers and employees will likely need to wait longer to be notified whether a petition was selected in the lottery, and if selected, wait longer for final adjudication.

LAC understands the level of anxiety and inability to plan that this process causes our clients. 

We will notify applicants promptly upon receipt of case-specific information from USCIS.  We will also forward general updates as information becomes available.

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