Legal Alerts

USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap for FY 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this morning that it has reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the Master’s Cap. 

USCIS will now run two lotteries to choose the FY 2018 cases that will be processed to completion. The first lottery will select enough cases to meet the advanced degree cap exemption of 20,000. The second lottery will select enough filings to fill the standard quota of 65,000 and will draw from all remaining cases, including those not selected in the advanced degree lottery.

After USCIS concludes the lottery process, it will issue Receipt Notices to employers whose cases have been selected for processing. However, on April 3, 2017, USCIS suspended premium processing for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions. Employers should be prepared to wait several weeks to learn whether their petitions were selected in the FY 2018 lottery and several more months to receive final petition approval or requests for evidence.

Cases not selected in the lottery will be returned to petitioning employers along with their filing fees.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap and who still retain their cap number will not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

For employers whose H-1B petitions are ultimately not chosen in the FY 2018 H-1B lottery, Lewis Brisbois can assist employers in identifying available alternatives to the H-1B visa for employing foreign nationals.

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