A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

H-1B visa cap expected to be reached within days

USCIS expects the H-1B visa cap of 65,000 will be reached by April 5, 203 for FY2014.  If so, the agency will use a random lottery process to select cases for further processing.  This could be the first time since 2008 that the visa cap is reached within the first five (5) days of opening. 
Further, the 15-day period for Premium Processing Service will not begin until  April 15, 2013, according to a 3/15/2013 announcement by USCIS, as an adjustment to accommodate the large volume of cases.  
The following is an excerpt of the USCIS announcement:
The filing period for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2014 numerical cap begins on April 1, 2013. USCIS anticipates that it may receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery. 
USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. 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 has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, and in accordance with 8 CFR 103.7(e)(3)(ii), USCIS is announcing that premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher, will begin on April 15, 2013.  

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