09 Apr USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Cap
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has reached the congressionally mandated maximum number of new H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2019. This is referred to as the “cap” on H-1B visas. The H-1B cap was reached in 5 days, between April 2 and April 6, 2018. The USCIS has not yet revealed the total number of cases filed for FY 2019.
USCIS will no longer accept new H-1B petitions for FY 2019. USCIS will now take the pool of all new H-1B visa petitions filed in between April 2 and April 6, 2018 and use a computer-generated process to conduct a lottery that randomly selects the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 new H-1B visas for the general category, and 20,000 new H-1B visas for persons holding advanced degrees at the Master’s or Ph.D. level obtained from a qualified U.S.
The lottery is conducted in two steps. First, USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the 20,000 visas available for advanced degree cap. Second, USCIS will randomly select H-1B visa petitions for the general cap. The pool comprising the general cap is comprised of new H-1B visa petitions for persons who do not qualify for the advanced degree cap, plus all unselected advanced degree petitions. If a visa petition is not selected in the lottery at either steps 1 or 2, then USCIS will reject the petition and return the USCIS filing fees.
USCIS has already announced that it will not accept premium processing requests for cases filed pursuant to the fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap, including petitions that are seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
Please note that USCIS will continue to accept H-1B visa petitions for extensions of status, change employer and other actions available for H-1B visa petitions that were already counted towards the cap in previous fiscal years.
New H-1B visas for the 2019 cap that are selected in the lottery and approved by USCIS will be eligible to begin work on October 1, 2018 – which is the start of the 2019 fiscal year of the U.S. federal government.
I.A. Donoso & Associates will continue to provide updates on important events regarding the H-1B program. I.A. Donoso & Associates is uniquely positioned to report on these changes because of our location in Washington, D.C.