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Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

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USCIS announces that the H-1B cap limit has been reached

As has happened in each of the last six years, the H-1B cap limit has been hit within the first five business days of April, the period which USCIS holds open for receiving such cases. USCIS will now conduct a lottery to determine which of the petitions received will get the 20,000 H-1Bs allotted to those with US Master’s degrees, and then those not selected in this initial lottery will be included with everyone else to see who gets the bulk of the remaining 65,000 “general category” H-1Bs (with some reserved for national of Singapore and Chile).

USCIS has not yet announced exactly how many H-1Bs were received this year – last year, 199,000 were received. This represented an unusual drop from 237,000 the year before and 233,000 the year before that.

We expect to begin hearing back on selected cases within the next two weeks – if a case is selected, USCIS simply performs data entry, deposits government processing fee checks, and sends a Receipt Notice. In the past, we’ve received Receipt Notices for selected cases as late as early June.

Only after all receipt Notices are sent on selected cases do we begin received back the packages filed for non-selected Cap H-1Bs, complete with undeposited government processing fee checks. So, those not selected are kept waiting in uncertainty into the summer.