USCIS has stopped accepting H-1B petitions subject to the 2015 fiscal year H-1B cap or the advanced degree exemption.
On April 7, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015. The USCIS also announced that it has received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption. Accordingly, the USCIS will not accept any H-1B petitions subject to the 2015 fiscal year cap after April 7.
The USCIS will select from among those petitions received between April 1, 2014 and April 7, 2014 through a computer-generated random selection process, referred to as the “lottery,” to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 visas under the advanced degree exemption. The selection process for the advanced degree exemption will take place first; all advanced degree petitions not selected will be added to the general pool, for which there are 65,000 visas available.
The USCIS has not yet announced the total number of petitions received because it continues to conduct intake for all petitions received during the filing period, which ended on April 7. The USCIS has also not yet announced the date that the lottery will take place. Those petitions not selected in the lottery will be rejected and returned by the USCIS to the petitioner, including all filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
H-1B petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals not subject to the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015 will continue to be accepted and processed by the USCIS. This includes petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have previously held H-1B status within the last six years; petitions requesting extensions of stay, changes of employer, and changes in terms of employment filed on behalf of foreign nationals currently in H-1B status; and petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. Foreign nationals employed by institutions of higher education, related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, or governmental research organizations are also exempt from the cap.
The USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for its 2016 fiscal year on April 1, 2015 for employment commencing on October 1, 2015 or later.
We will issue updates as additional information becomes available.
View the USCIS announcement at http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-reaches-fy-2015-h-1b-cap.