USCIS reaches H-1B cap for FY2019: What happens next?

April 6, 2018 | USCIS reaches H-1B cap for FY 2019

This morning, USCIS reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa amount for the master's cap.  For recent consecutive years in a row, USCIS has reached the annual H-1B visa cap amounts within the first week of opening their annual filing window in April. Since USCIS reached their cap, any additional H-1B applications received will not be considered after today.

What happens next?

(1) A lottery will be run within the next few days: Since USCIS accepts a sufficient amount of petitions higher than the annual cap amount of 65,000 and 20,000 for U.S master's or higher, the Service will complete a random lottery selection process for those H-1B petitions received by the service. The computer generated lottery process is typically completed within a few days once USCIS reaches their cap amount.

Those cases that are subject to the master's cap will go through the lottery first. All unselected master's degree petitions will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 regular H-1B cap.

(2) Unselected cap petitions in the lottery will be returned to Petitioners: All unselected cap petitions after the lottery is complete will then be sent back to petitioners or their attorneys with a return of filing fees. A good indicator that your petition was selected in the lottery is a cashed filing fee check from the Service.

(3) Selected cap petitions in the lottery will be sent a receipt notice. USCIS will send receipt notices for selected cap petitions and should be received around the end of April or early May.

(4) Visa approvals and Requests for Evidences will be sent by the Service. Throughout the summer and fall months, selected petitions will be processed by USCIS. Petitioners should expect to receive either an approval or a Request for Evidence from the Service during this time period.