|Washington - For the first time since 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday that it had reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.
On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a "lottery") to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees.
The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. Within the next 2 weeks, we should begin to receive the Receipt Notices for petitions that were selected in the lottery. As I receive these, I will notify you of the case number so you can track your status online.
Over the next 2 weeks, I will also begin to receive the petitions that were not selected in the lottery. As I receive these, I will also advise you and let you know what other options, if any, are available to you.
All individuals who are eligible to apply for an F-1 OPT STEM extension, should do so before their current OPT expires IF they have not received an H-1B approval notice by that date. As STEM applicants are eligible to continue working as long as they have filed for a new EAD card, they can wait until 2-3 weeks before their current EADs expire to file the STEM extension. In this way, if the H-1B petition is approved prior to that, then there is no need to proceed with the STEM extension. Of course, any individuals eligible for STEM extensions whose H-1B petitions were not selected in the lottery, should plan to file STEM EAD extensions.
As announced on March 15, 2013, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases on April 15, 2013. For more information on premium processing for FY 2014 cap-subject petitions, please see the related USCIS Alert.