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USCIS has reached the H-1B Cap for the Fiscal Year of 2019.  This year, 190,098 H-1B petitions were filed – an approximate 4.5% decrease from last year’s 199,000 filings and still significantly fewer than the record 236,000 H-1B petitions that were filed in 2016.  In other words, the number of H-1B filed for the last three (3) years is as follows:

  • 2018: 190,098
  • 2017: 199,000
  • 2016: 236,000

Of the 190,098 H-1B cap petitions that were filed, here is the breakdown between U.S. Master’s Cap filing and Regular Cap filings:

  • 95,885 U.S. advanced degree holders’ petitions, submitted towards the U.S. Master’s cap exemption of 20,000.
  • 94,213 petitions submitted towards the regular H-1B cap/standard quota of 65,000.

On April 11, USCIS conducted two (2) lotteries, the first of which selected enough cases to meet the cap of 20,000 for U.S. advanced degree holders.  A second lottery was conducted with the remaining 170,098 cases (including those with U.S. advanced degrees who did not make the 20,000 lottery), to fill the standard quota of 65,000.

Based on the above numbers released by USCIS, the % chance for being selected by the lottery was as follows:

  • 20.85% chance of being selected in the 1st advanced-degree lottery of 20,000.
  • 38.21% chance of selection for all other cases subject to the 2nd 65,000 lottery – including those with U.S. advanced degrees who were not selected in the first lottery.
  • U.S. advanced degree holders had higher chance for selection since those that do not make the 1st lottery get a second chance in the 2nd lottery.
  • Overall, the chance of selection for the H-1B Cap for the Fiscal Year of 2019 was approximately 44.71%.

Over the next few weeks, employers and their attorneys will begin receiving receipt notices via regular mail for those petitions which made the lottery and were selected for processing.  For those cases that were not selected in the lottery, USCIS will return the petitions and filing fees via regular mail.  While USCIS has not announced the timing of when unselected petitions and filing fees will be returned, they have announced that they expect to begin working on processing selected cap cases soon after they have been receipted.   However, due to high volumes of filings and a backlog of all other non-cap cases, employers should expect lengthy processing times for H-1B cap-cases.