USCIS has announced that the H-1B 2016 lottery was officially completed on April 13, 2015 although the congressionally mandated cap was reached by April 7. Both the regular cap and advanced degree exemption category limits were surpassed. In total, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received close to 233,000 petitions in the span of the H-1B season which opened on April 1, 2015.
As we addressed in previous posts, USCIS will use a computer-generated process to randomly select 65,000 H-1B petitions for the regular cap and 20,000 for the master’s cap.
The Next Steps
Petitions selected in the lottery will be sent to the designated adjudicating service center. From there, the center will take over the processing. Individuals can expect to be notified by USCIS that their petition has been selected along with an EAC number to track the status.
Not selected in the lottery?
If your petition is not selected in the lottery, USCIS will return your filing fee (unless determined to be a duplicate filing, in which case it will be returned without the fee).
In some instances, a petition may be marked as “wait-listed”. When that happens they run the chance of replacing petitions that were selected but then found to be ineligible or denied.
Premium Process Begins May
The official memorandum, released in March, indicated that USCIS would begin premium processing no later than May 11, 2015. This comes as an expected change from last year due to the overwhelming number of petitions received.
Cap Exempt Petitions
As it stands, USCIS will continue accepting cap exempt petitions which includes individuals who have been counted against the cap within previous years. What’s more, USCIS will accept petitions filed in order to:
- Lengthen or extend an H-1B worker’s time in the U.S.
- Alter the terms of employment
- Permit the worker to change H-1B employers
- Permit the worker to be employed in a second H-1B position
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
If you weren’t selected in the current H-1B lottery, our immigration attorneys can help you begin the process for the next season. Our lawyers have an excellent track record in complex H-1B cases including transfers and extensions for individuals as well as small businesses. We offer a highly competitive flat fee and no additional charges if one RFE is requested. Contact us today for your free consultation.
SGM Law Group will report any new immigration developments as they arise. Stay tuned for an update on the current H-1B lottery season, coming soon!
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