Receipt or return.  The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has indicated that it will now begin returning FY 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not chosen in the FY 2016 H-1B Lottery (computer-generated random selection process). 

Receipts for H-1B petitions selected for processing have been issued over the past week or so.   In this context a receipt, or I-797 Notice of Action which acknowledges the Immigration Service’s receipt of a petition, indicates that the petition was selected in the FY 2016 H-1B Lottery. 

It’s not clear whether additional receipt notices will still be issued, but hope seems to be diminishing.  Of course, not all cases that were lucky enough to be selected in the lottery will necessarily be approved, so arguably it is still possible that a few more cases may be receipted for processing.

Due to the very high number of filings, a time-frame for the return of the petitions was not provided.  Presumably, petitioners will soon receive returned H-1B petitions that were not selected in the lottery, or perhaps receipt notices (maybe a few more will be issued?!).  The wait may soon be over. 

USCIS requests patience (i.e., restraint from calling to check the status) as they focus their resources on the enormous number of H-1B petitions that reached them.

The Immigration Service indicated that it will make an announcement when all unselected petitions have been returned.


Ms. Wadhwani is a Partner in the Immigration Group at Fox Rothschild LLP.  She may be reached at