How the FY-2019 H-1B Visa Lottery Works

How many H-1B Visas are available for the FY-2019 Quota?

58,200 (65,000 minus 6,800 taken out for Chile and Singapore H-1Bs) H-1B Visas are available per year in the Bachelor’s degrees quota.

20,000 H-1B Visas are available per year in the U.S. Master’s degrees quota.

When can I file my H-1B Visa Petition with USCIS?

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 is the first day USCIS will accept H-1B petitions for quota (cap) subject cases for FY (Fiscal Year) 2019, commencing October 1, 2018 .

Because demand for H-1B workers remains high the quota likely will be filled in the first 5 business days of April.

Friday, April 6th, 2018 is likely the last day USCIS will accept H-1B petitions for quota (cap) subject cases for FY (Fiscal Year) 2019.

USCIS is required to accept petitions received during the first five business days of April.  With April 1st 2018 being a Sunday, the fifth business day will be Friday, April 6, meaning petitions must be sent via Next Day Delivery no later than Thursday April 5th 2018.

What happens once USCIS receives my FY 2017 H-1B Visa Petition:

Initial review will sort out multiple or duplicative H-1B petitions filed by an employer for one employer.  Regulations require USCIS to deny or revoke those multiple or duplicative petitions that an employer files for the same H-1B worker, and they will not return or refund the filing fees.

U.S. Master’s cap petitions will be sorted from non-U.S. Master’s cases and subjected to the random process to select the 20,000 that will be processed.

All cases not selected as part of the U.S. Master’s lottery will be entered into the bachelor’s cap lottery, in which 58,200 cases (65,000 minus 6,800 carved out for Chile and Singapore H-1Bs) will be subjected to the random system to select those that will be adjudicated.

Rejected petitions will be returned to the attorney or employer along with the filing fees (except for multiple or duplicative filings by an employer for an employee).

Employers probably will not know whether a petition has been accepted and made it through the lottery until processing has begun and USCIS sends a receipt notice, or until the attorney or employer receives the rejected petition.

What is Premium Processing and should I use it?

For FY 2018 cases, Premium Processing means that USCIS will issue a decision within 30 days in exchange for a $1,225 fee.

Premium processing does not increase the change of being selected in the lottery, but may enable earlier notification of whether the petition was accepted or rejected.

Petitions filed without premium processing may take several months to process, but should be processed before October 1, 2018.

When should I start preparing my FY 2019 H-1B Visa Petition?

We suggest starting ASAP.

The iCert LCA system is likely to become slower as April 1st nears.

In addition starting now will give you more time to address potential specialty occupation and prevailing wage issues, and order University Transcripts, Academic Evaluations, and End Client Letters.