U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reported receiving enough petitions during the first five business days of April 2019 to meet the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B regular cap for fiscal year 2020. USCIS will next determine if it has received enough petitions to meet the 20,000 U.S. advanced degree exemption or “master’s cap.”
This year, for the first time, the agency ran the regular lottery first, with the stated purpose of ensuring that more of the limited annual H-1B numbers went to those with advanced U.S. degrees. We will provide an update once the agency makes an announcement about the master’s cap lottery.
In the coming weeks, we expect first to receive electronic receipt notices for selected H-1B cap petitions that were filed under USCIS’s premium processing service. The agency has announced that the 15-day premium processing period will start no later than May 20. We anticipate that hard-copy I-797 receipt notices for selected petitions that were filed under regular processing will trickle in through June. As in previous years, we expect to receive rejected petitions – those that were not selected in either the regular or the master’s cap lottery – to begin arriving in early July.