USCIS Returning H1B Cap Cases Not Selected in FY18 Lottery

On June 14, 2017, the Murthy Law Firm received the first few packages containing H1B filings returned as not having been selected in the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) random H1B lottery. More than a month has elapsed since the firm last received any new H1B receipt notices for cases selected in the lottery. Individuals who are still awaiting notification of the lottery outcome in their H1B cases should prepare for the likelihood that their petitions were not selected.

Returned H1B Packages

If a cap case is not selected in the lottery, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) returns these cases with all forms and documents intact. This includes the checks submitted as filing fees. These checks are not cashed; they are returned with the “rejected” package. Each package also should include a notice of action form from the USCIS that lists the names of the petitioner and the beneficiary, along with boilerplate text explaining that the case “…was not among those randomly selected for processing.”

Please note that the rejection of an H1B package occurs when the USCIS mailroom returns the H1B package without reviewing the merits of the case. In contrast, the denial of an H1B petition generally is based on a review of facts and the merits of the case, meaning that the employer and/or employee was found ineligible for the H1B petition approval.

Options and Deadlines

Foreign nationals whose respective cases were not selected in the FY18 H1B cap lottery need to be mindful of any applicable deadlines. Those who are eligible for STEM OPT extensions should prepare for and submit such filings in a timely fashion. STEM OPT filings must be received by the USCIS, with all proper supporting documentation, prior to the expiration of the twelve-month OPT duration.

Other options for those in F-1 status, such as filing for a change of status or continuing F-1 student status, generally must be pursued before expiration of the F-1 grace period. And, of course, those who will leave the United States must make arrangements to depart the country in a timely fashion in order to avoid violating U.S. immigration law.


The return of H1B packages, while disappointing, should clarify the outcome of the H1B lottery for all cases. Individuals whose filings were not selected in the lottery are welcome to schedule a consultation with a Murthy Law Firm attorney to discuss status concerns and immigration options.


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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.