On April 7, 2016, USCIS announced that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

Yesterday USCIS announced that, on April 9, it used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS also confirmed its receipt of more than 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1 and ended April 7.  This is slightly higher than the number of filings received last year (233,000).

USCIS conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

USCIS will issue Receipt Notices (Form I-797C) for those petitions that were selected for adjudication in the random lottery process and reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16, 2016, per its previous announcement.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

If Fox Rothschild has prepared and file an H-1B petition on your company’s behalf, we will automatically notify you upon our receipt of a Receipt Notice confirming selection in the random lottery process or a returned petition, confirming rejection/not selected.

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Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or abahal@foxrothschild.com.