USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap
H-1B CAP FOR FY2018 REACHED
LOTTERY WILL BE CONDUCTED
As expected, today USCIS announced that the H-1B cap for FY2018 has been reached for both “regular” and “master’s” cap cases.
All cap-subject petitions received at USCIS between Monday, April 3, 2017 and Friday, April 7, 2017 will be entered into a random lottery for the available visas.
Petitions selected in the lottery will proceed to adjudication.
If approved, the earliest effective date of H-1B status will be October 1, 2017.
USCIS continues to accept H-1B petitions which are not subject to the cap. Please see press release for additional information.
Lottery notification timeline: It is difficult to guess when notifications of winners will be complete. In FY2017, USCIS completed data entry for all the petitions on 5/2/16, the lottery was then conducted, and we received receipt notices for selected petitions through the end of June. After that, rejected petitions started coming in. USCIS has not announced the number of petitions received this week. However, we expect even more petitions will be filed this year than last, which may delay notification dates. Last year, 236,000 petitions were filed for the roughly 85,000 visas available.
Another variable from last year – USCIS allowed cases to be filed with premium processing, but suspended the 15-day processing for those cases until they could complete the lottery and initial data entry. On 5/12/16 they resumed premium processing, so cases that were filed with a premium request got notification within a couple weeks thereafter. However, given that this year premium processing was suspended effective 4/3/17, it is only when it is reinstated that premium processing upgrades may be submitted, and that will require issuance of a receipt notice. In short, premium will not be available for the purpose of expediting notification.
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. We will notify impacted clients upon receipt of the returned petitions, and promptly refund the USCIS filing fees to the employer.
LAC understands the level of anxiety and inability to plan that this process causes our clients.
We will make our best effort to notify applicants immediately upon receipt of case-specific information from USCIS.
We will e-blast updates as information becomes available.