USCIS announced on April 6, 2018 that the H-1B cap has been reached for both the 65,000 “bachelor’s cap” visas as well as the additional 20,000 visas for persons holding U.S. master’s degrees. As a result, USCIS held a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted, and which will be returned to the petitioners.
A total of 190,098 petitions were received. This is down from 199,000 the previous year. USCIS selects about 100,000 petitions in all to account for denials and withdrawals. Therefore, the chance of success for any given applicant is around 50% to 60%. Master degree applicants are given two chances to succeed, so their odds are a little better.
Petitioners whose petitions were selected are beginning to receive receipts for the petitions. This process will take several weeks. Once all the receipts are sent out, USCIS will begin to return the petitions that are not selected.
The H-1B cap applies to persons who have not previously held H-1B status. It does not apply to extensions, or change of employers. It also does not apply to certain exempt categories such as universities, employers affiliated with universities such as teaching hospitals, certain nonprofit institutions, and J-1 waiver cases.
Along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, we believe that the low quota on H-1B petitions deprives America of much needed talent needed to help drive innovation and business growth.