The H-1B filing period for the FY2010 starts from April 1. Employers will send the H-1B visa petitions on March 31, 2009 via Express Courier service like FedEx, DHL to USCIS processing centers. USCIS gave some guidance about this new H-1B Visa season. They are not sure how many applications will be submitted. USCIS, this year predicts that the H-1B Quota will not be reached within first 5 business days of April (till April 7).
Update from USCIS about H-1B filing
- USCIS receives a sufficient number of cases in the first five business days of April to reach the H1B cap, then the “lottery” will be conducted;
- All the H1B petitions submitted till April 7, all five days form April 1 will be included in lottery;
- If there is lottery, then receipts will be issued only to petitions selected in lottery process;
- All the H1B petitions will have receipt date of April 8, 2009;
- If H1B Quota is not reached till April 7, 2009, then USCIS will continue to receive and accept petitions until the day upon which USCIS concludes that a sufficient number of petitions is reached;
- Mini Lottery will be conducted for those cases received on the last day.
What is the H-1B Mini-Lottery?
Term ‘Mini lottery’ is not officially used by USCIS. Mini lottery will be conducted by USCIS if H-1B Quota is reached after April 7, 2009.
USCIS stated that if more H-1B petitions (than available 85,000) were received within first 5 business days (till April 7, 2009), there will be usual random lottery selection for entire 65,000 and same applies to 20,000 (Advanced Degree Cap). Until we hear from USCIS, there is no way to predict the number of applications submitted this year.
- If H-1B Quota Reached by April 7, 2009
If USCIS receive more than 65,000 H-1B Visa petitions till April 7, 2009, then –
- If more than 65,000 H-1B Visa petitions were received till April 7, 2009 – there will be random lottery to pick entire 65,000 visas;
- If more than 20,000 Advanced Degree petitions were received, then there will be lottery to select entire 20,000 petitions.
If H-1B Quota not reached by April 7, 2009
If USCIS does not receive enough H-1B Visa petitions by April 7, 2009, then –
- USCIS will continue to receive petitions till cap is filled. For example, if USCIS on April 10, 2009 receives enough number of applications to reach 65,000 and 20,000 cap, then mini lottery will be held. So, lottery will be conducted on H-1B petitions received just on April 10, 2009.
How Does Mini Lottery Help?
H-1B Visa applications submitted before April 7, 2009 will be considered for H-1B Approval and receipt number will be issued and lottery will be held only for small number of applications received on last day when cap was met.