Important H-1B Cap Announcement

UCIS TO BEGIN ACCEPTING FY2016 H-1B PETITIONS ON 4/1/2015

The USCIS reminds the public that it will begin accepting FY2016 H-1B petitions on April 1st, 2015. The USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the cap during the first 5 business days in April.

This means USCIS will accept H-1B Cap Petitions even after April 1st, (for 5 business days and thus until April 7th ), before announcing that sufficient number of cases is received.

USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap during the first five business days of this year's program. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of (20,00 U.S. Master's Cap 65,000 regular cap) petitions during the first five business days, USCIS will then use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed. USCIS used the lottery for the FY 2015 program last April.


FIVE-DAY PERIOD TO FILE FY2014 H-1B CAP PETITIONS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just announced that they are going to allow H-1B petitions to be filed for the first five days of April EVEN IF enough petitions are submitted on April 1st to meet the cap (that is, 65,000 regular H-1B petitions and 20,000 advanced degree petitions). The good news is that it will give petitioners a little breathing room to get their petitions filed. The bad news is that it is more likely that a lottery may be used, meaning that merely filing will not ensure the acceptance of the H-1B petitions.

What all this means is this: IF more petitions are filed in the first five days than there are numbers available, a lottery will be held. Those who "win" the lottery will have their petitions adjudicated. Those who "lose" will be rejected. Therefore, while getting the petitions filed within those five days will make sure that they are in the race, it does not guarantee that they will be winners in the race. This lack of clarity will leave many petitioners and foreign nationals up in the air until they receive either a fee receipt or a rejection notice.

However, to compound matters just a little, even if a fee receipt is issued, since more fee receipts are issued than the numbers available (it is assumed that some petitioners or beneficiaries will withdraw their petitions, or that some petitions will be denied) if the numbers are not calculated correctly, it is possible that even those who get a fee receipt may ultimately not get an approval notice.

If not all of the numbers are used up in the first five days of April, there then will be no lottery and every case filed within the first days will be moved on toward adjudication. In the recent past, the USCIS has been fairly prompt in letting us know whether the cap has been reached or not, so it is possible that before a fee receipt or rejection we will have a better idea about whether that cap has been maxed out.

For those who are interested in premium processing, the USCIS has also announced that it will not begin premium processing until April 15th. Therefore, it will not be until after April 15th and probably closer to April 30th before it will be known whether a premium processing case has been approved.

Notwithstanding the USCIS announcement, our office is aiming at filing as many of our cases as possible by April 1st. However, if there is some glitch in the labor condition application (LCA) process, the USCIS announcement will give us a few extra days to wait for the approved LCA so that we can properly file the H-1B petitions.

Should you have any questions about this, please call our office at 650-588-7100.