U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Tuesday that it has completed data entry for H-1B cap petitions that were chosen in the fiscal year 2019 lottery. USCIS will now begin returning petitions that were not selected.

Key Points:

  • Because of the high volume of filings, the agency is unable to provide a timeline for the return of unselected petitions.
  • USCIS said it will announce when all unselected petitions are returned and is requesting that people not contact the agency until they have received a receipt notice or the return of an unselected petition.
  • The agency also said it may transfer some H-1B cap petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to distribute workloads more evenly.

BAL Analysis: Employers and individuals are reminded that premium processing for H-1B petitions remains suspended, which may delay receipts. They should expect returns of unselected petitions to continue for the next few weeks. The agency will notify petitioners whose cases are transferred between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center.

USCIS received 190,098 cap-subject H-1B petitions during this year’s filing period. This number is significantly above the annual H-1B caps of 65,000 visas for individuals with an undergraduate or equivalent degree and 20,000 visas for individuals with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university. Employers whose petitions were not selected in the lottery are encouraged to work with their BAL professional for advice on alternatives to the H-1B visa category and other strategic options to fulfill workforce needs.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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