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2020 H-1B Cap Season – Cap Has Been Reached and Other Updates


During the week of April 1, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepted H-1B cap subject petitions for the fiscal year (FY) 2020. While it is yet unknown how many petitions were received during last week, USCIS announced that it has reached the congressionally-mandated cap of 65,000 petitions; and received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the “master’s cap.”

We expect that USCIS will conduct its random lottery selection within the next couple of weeks and start sending receipt notices for those selected.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

Premium processing. Premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season “so USCIS can best manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it as in previous years,” the agency said. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status. The second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

New H-1B data hub. USCIS also announced a new “H-1B Employer Data Hub” that will be available on uscis.gov on April 1, 2019. The data hub is part of USCIS’s “continued effort to increase the transparency of the H-1B program by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code. This will give the public the ability to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program,” USCIS said.

New H-1B cap selection process. In January, the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule amending regulations governing cap-subject H-1B petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, which will be in effect for the FY 2020 cap season. This change “increases the chances that more of these visas will be granted to those with an advanced degree from a U.S. institution of higher education,” USCIS said.

More details are available here.


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