USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2017

April 19, 2016

On April 7, 2016, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption. USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advance degree exemption. On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 under the advance degree exemption. Cases not selected in either lottery will be rejected and returned with their filing fees.

USCIS will delay the start of the 15-day premium processing clock no later than May 16 (last year was May 11). Employers whose premium cases were selected in the lottery should get email filing receipts by May 16, though receipting could begin earlier. Adjudicators wills tart working on premium processed cases by May 16 and USCIS should complete initial adjudication of premium cases by May 31. By this date, employers should receive an approval, RFE (Request for Evidence) or denial in their premium cases (though we have yet to see a denial issued without first getting an RFE). If an RFE is issued, additional time will be required for a determination.

Employers whose regular processed cases were selected in the lottery should be able to get filing receipts by mid-June, if not earlier. Receipting could continue for several days or weeks after it begins. USCIS is expected to begin working on regular processed cases by late May or early June, and typically aims to finish initial adjudication by Mid-August. RFEs may be issued at any time during this period.

We will continue to monitor the development of H-1B processing and will provide updates as they become available.