U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 10, 2014, that 172,500 cap subject H-1B petitions were received between April 1 and April 7 – 48,500 more petitions were filed this year than during the same period last year. The total included both U.S. advanced degree exemption cases and regular H-1B cap cases; USCIS did not provide a breakdown of how many cases were received in each category. Because there were sufficient cases to meet the annual cap of 65,000 for regular cases and 20,000 U.S. advanced degree exemption cases, USCIS conducted a computer-generated random selection process on April 10.

USCIS first conducted a random lottery of the 20,000 H-1B cases eligible under the master's cap exemption. Cases not selected as one of the 20,000 under the master's cap exemption were then included in the random lottery for the 65,000 allotment. Those cap-subject petitions not selected during the random lottery will be sent back, with filing fees. As previously announced, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases on April 28, 2014. However, USCIS may start processing cases sooner than April 28, 2014, as they did last year.

With premium processing cases, USCIS will confirm via e-mail receipt notices indicating that processing has begun. This notification will indicate that a case was selected under the random lottery. Hard copy receipts will be sent by mail for cases filed without premium processing that were selected in the lottery. Those receipt notices may be issued up to several weeks after the April 10 lottery.

Please click here for additional information from USCIS regarding the announcement on April 10, 2014.

Additional information can also be found on our previous legal updates from April 7, 2014March 26, 2014 and January 17, 2014