H-1B Cap 2017 – How the lottery process works?
On Friday, April 1st, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) started receiving petitions from American employers who have applied for H-1B Cap 2017 for foreign workers.
The H-1B visa is subject to a yearly quota of 65,000 and 20,000 for advanced degree petitions.
Taking into account number of petitions in H-1B Cap 2016, it is expected that USCIS will receive more than 65,000 petitions during the first five business days. That means that the computer-generated lottery will take place. Petitions received by USCIS between April, 1 and April, 7 have equal chances of selection in the lottery.
So how does the process of selection H-1B lucky numbers works?
After USCIS receives the H-1B petition on the fifth business day, the agency will inform the public if the cap is met. USCIS will send petitioners a Form I-797, Notice of Action, notifying that the petition was received and will provide a case number, which can be used to check USCIS case status online.
If the agency receives more petitions then the cap, they will tag each petition with an individual number and begin the computer-generated lottery. The computer will then randomly select 20,000 petitions for the Master’s quota. Those advanced degree petitions that are not chosen will be transferred to the regular cap pool of 65,000 for further selection. Therefore, advanced degree exempt petitioners have greater chances to be chosen, as they are included in both lotteries.
USCIS will send the list of all selected petitions to the service centers that will proceed with next level H1-B visa processing for adjudication on the selected petitions. USCIS will inform all selected petition holders with their case number (EAC number) to monitor the ongoing status.
If the petition is marked as “wait-listed” that means it may replace a petition that was initially selected but later found to be ineligible or denied.
Those petitions that are not selected or received after the cap is closed, will be rejected and returned to their respective parties, i.e. employers (and attorneys) together with the fee. If USCIS determine a duplicate filing, the case will be returned without the fee.