On April 8, 2009, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will continue to accept H-1B nonimmigrant visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2010 (FY 2010) cap, as USCIS has not yet received the necessary number of petitions to satisfy either the regular or master’s degree cap. USCIS has received almost half the petitions needed to meet the FY 2010 regular cap of 65,000, and has received close to the number of petitions necessary to meet the 20,000 U.S. master’s degree or higher educational exemption cap.  

When USCIS receives a sufficient number of petitions to reach the respective caps, USCIS will issue another announcement to indicate that, as of a certain date (the “final receipt date”), the respective FY 2010 H-1B caps have been met. USCIS will then conduct a lottery, including only those petitions received on the final receipt date, to determine which are selected for the final few available numbers. USCIS will base the final receipt date for each petition on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition and not the date that the petition is postmarked.  

Therefore, it is critical for employers to file any remaining cap-subject H-1B petitions as soon as possible to ensure the earliest possible final receipt date for inclusion in this year’s cap.  

As neither the regular nor master’s caps were reached within the first five (5) business days of availability, USCIS will receipt and process all cap-subject H-1B petitions filed from April 1 through April 7.