H1B Cap Lottery Update for FY18

On April 7, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H1B cap for fiscal year 2018 (FY18) was reached. The USCIS then completed the H1B lottery selection process on April 11, 2017. Some 199,000 petitions were filed this year, which is the lowest number of cap cases filed in five years. The USCIS has not provided a breakdown of how many of these petitions were eligible for the advanced-degree exemption (“master’s cap”), and it is not expected to do so.

Lottery Completed, Receipt Notices Being Issued

The USCIS has started to send receipt notices by regular mail. There is no eMail option for these cases. On April 17, 2017, the Murthy Law Firm began receiving receipt notices for petitions selected in the lottery that the firm filed on behalf of its clients. These receipt notices likely will continue to flow in for at least the next several weeks.

As the option to use premium processing for H1B petitions was suspended as of April 3, 2017, there are no premium processing eMails or receipts to be issued for FY18 H1B cap cases.

Cases Not Selected in Lottery: Packages Returned After Receipts Finalized

Cases not selected in the lottery will be returned by mail with the uncashed filing fee checks to the H1B employer / petitioner or attorney of record. However, this process will not begin until after the USCIS has completed issuing receipt notices for the cases that were selected in the H1B lottery. In FY17, the rejected cases began to arrive in early June.


Although the volume of FY18 filings is down substantially from recent years, it still is more than double the annual allotment of 85,000, including the master’s cap. The USCIS remains extremely backlogged, so it could be several months before the USCIS issues requests for evidence (RFEs) or approval notices for these cap cases.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.