U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 17, 2017, that it received 199,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions this year in the H-1B lottery conducted the first week in April. That is more than double the 85,000 new H-1B cap-subject visas that can be issued starting October 1, but a decline from the 236,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions filed in the H-1B lottery a year ago, in April 2016.
The agency said it will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. The agency noted that it suspended premium processing as of April 3 for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions.
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap numbers, will not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
USCIS said it encourages H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B cap season email updates at https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/h-1b-fiscal-year-fy-2018-cap-season. The announcement about the total number of cap-subject H-1B petitions filed this year is at https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-completes-h-1b-cap-random-selection-process-fy-2018.