On April 7, USCIS announced that it had received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016 for both the Regular Cap of 65,000 and the U.S. Master’s Cap of 20,000.
USCIS announced that it would use a computer-generated process (the lottery), to randomly select petitions to fill both caps. That process is now complete. On April 13, USCIS announced that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period and that the computer-generated random selection process had been used to select enough petitions to meet both the Regular Cap and U.S. Master’s Cap. USCIS conducted the selection process for the U.S. Master’s Cap first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the Regular Cap, which was completed next. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
On April 14, USCIS announced that the agency will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium process on April 27, 2015. This is in line with USCIS’ earlier announcement that “it would temporarily adjust its premium processing practice due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season.”
USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. For H-1B petitions not subject to the cap, this processing time begins the date USCIS receives the premium processing request. However, for H-1B petitions that are subject to the cap, both the Regular Cap and the U.S. Master’s Cap, this 15 day processing time will begin on April 27, 2015. Accordingly, Petitioners that filed H-1B petitions for FY 2016 requesting premium processing can expect action from USCIS by Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
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