This message is to provide an update on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS")' acceptance and processing of H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year 2014.
H-1B Cap Reached
On April 5, 2013, CIS announced that it received enough cap-subject H-1B petitions (124,000 to be exact) to meet or exceed the available number of H-1B spots for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014). CIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
CIS Lottery Process
CIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the "lottery") for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received on or before April 5, 2013. CIS first conducted the selection process for Master Cap (i.e., advanced degree) petitions. Master Cap petitions not initially selected were included in the lottery for Regular H-1B Cap numbers.
Data Entry & Notices
CIS is starting the data entry process for H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. Cases that were submitted for premium processing are being handled first and their data entry should have been completed by April 15. The remaining cases will go through data entry and have receipt notices issued. Cases not selected for the lottery will be issued rejection notices. Previously, when the H-1B cap was reached on the first day of filing in 2008, data entry was not completed and receipt notices were not issued until late May. Therefore, a delay should be expected.
Please note that CIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap such as petitions filed to:
- extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
- change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
In addition, H-1B petitions that are not subject to the numerical cap include petitions filed by the following types of employers:
- Institution of higher education
- Nonprofit entity related to or affiliated with an Institution of higher education
- Nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization
- Employing a beneficiary to perform job duties at one of the above qualifying institutions
Alternate Nonimmigrant Options
The H-1B is not the only visa classification which authorizes employment. Other categories may be available to employers wishing to hire foreign nationals such as E, L, TN, H-3, etc.