On April 7, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that it had received sufficient H-1B cap-subject petitions to reach the annual 65,000 “regular cap” limit for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals who possess U.S. advanced degrees. 

USCIS announced today that it had received approximately 172,500 H-1B cap-subject petitions between April 1 and April 7, which is significantly greater than the 124,000 petitions received last year. Since the number of petitions received during the first week of April 2014 exceeded the annual quota, the agency conducted a random selection (“lottery”) process today for all FY 2015 cap-subject petitions received through April 7 to determine which cases would be processed under the respective “caps.”  USCIS conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were included in the random selection process for the regular 65,000 limit. USCIS will reject and return cap-subject petitions not selected, together with the filing fees, unless they are found to be duplicate filings. 

Employers or beneficiaries whose petitions are not selected in the H-1B cap lottery should consult with counsel to determine eligibility for other available options. USCIS has not yet announced when it will begin sending receipt notices for the selected petitions, but it will likely be over the next few weeks.