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Immigration Update

April 9, 2013

H-1B Cap-Subject Filings Go To Lottery

On April 5, 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) announced that it had received more H-1B cap subject petitions than congressionally-available H-1B numbers.  More than 124,000 cap-subject H-1B applications were filed last week for the 65,000 and 20,000 H-1B numbers available each year for general H-1B visas and holders of US advanced degrees, respectively. CIS will conduct a lottery to determine which applications will be receipted under one of the caps and which will be rejected and returned to the petitioner. The lottery for the 20,000 H-1B numbers set aside for US advanced degree holders will take place first. Any petition filed under the US Master’s Cap that does not win that lottery will then be entered in the lottery for the 65,000 regular category H-1B filings.

To facilitate data entry for the lotteries and processing of cases chosen for the lottery, CIS will resume premium processing of H-1B cases chosen in the lottery on April 15, 2013. Receipts for filings that win an H-1B number may be issued prior to that date, but the 15 day processing window begins April 15th. Any cases CIS receipts under the Premium Processing program will have to be issued a decision or request for evidence by April 30th or the premium processing filing fee will be refunded upon request.

CIS will continue to process cases that are exempt from the cap, including H-1B extension petitions and requests for changes of employer for those H-1B beneficiaries who were counted against previous years’ H-1B caps. Foreign nationals not chosen in the H-1B lottery may have other options to acquire or extend their US work authorization. Please contact a member of the MVA Global Immigration Team if you have questions about the lottery or a specific case.