Yesterday, the USCIS announced that it completed H1B petitions data entry for fiscal year 2018. This means the USCIS will soon start sending out receipt notices and return petitions it didn’t select. The USCIS also urged applicants to not inquire about their petitions until they are notified. The USCIS didn’t provide any timeline. It did however mention that it will transfer a number of petitions from Vermont Service Center to California Service Center. That is due to the big number of petitions received.
H1B Petitions Lottery
This year, the USCIS received 199,00 petitions according to a press release from last month. A number large enough to meet the H1B visa cap. On April 11th, The USCIS did run a random computer process to select enough petitions to meet the cap. According to the current congressional mandate, it should select 65,000 petitions plus another 20,000 with advanced degree exemption. This year, the number of petitions for advanced degree exemptions reached the 20,000 cap. So, the USCIS ran the random process on the advanced degree petitions first. It then merge the remaining advanced degree petitions with the rest and ran the process again to select 65,000 petitions.
The USCIS announced earlier in March that it will suspend premium processing for a period of 6 months. Previously, premium processing allowed applicants to hear back from the USCIS within 2 weeks. This year the timeline will be the same for all applicants. It may however be shorter for those who don’t pay for premium processing since there will more agents available to process the petitions.
Cap-exempt H1B petitions
The USCIS will continue processing cap-exempt H1B petitions for the following cases:
- H1B extensions to remain longer in the US
- Employer or terms of employment changes
- Work for multiple employers under H1B
- Petitions to work for cap-exempt employers