On April 6, 2018, USCIS announced that it reached the 65,000 H-1B visa cap for FY 2019, including the 20,000 U.S. advanced degree exemption known as the “master’s cap.” Every year since 2014, the cap has been reached during the first week of April.
Once again, a lottery will be conducted and cases that are not exempt from the “cap” will no longer be accepted for inclusion in the lottery.
Exempt cases include those filed:
- To extend H-1B petitions for those already in H-1B status;
- To amend the terms and conditions of employment for current H-1B workers;
- To allow current H-1B workers to change employers;
- To allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in another H-1B position; and
- By exempt employers, such as institutions of higher education.
USCIS has not yet announced how many petitions it received for FY 2019. Except for last year, the number of petitions received has increased each year since 2014.
- 2014: 124,000
- 2015: 172,500
- 2016: 233,000
- 2017: 236,000
- 2018: 199,000
Once the lottery is conducted, USCIS will reject and return filing fees for cases that are not selected.
Because premium processing has been suspended for H-1B cap filings, receipt notices for accepted cases will arrive by mail and will not be sent on an expedited basis.