H1B Cap Lottery Update for FY19

On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H1B cap for fiscal year 2019 (FY19) was reached. The USCIS then completed the H1B lottery selection process on April 12, 2017. Some 190,000 petitions were filed this year, which is about five percent fewer than the number of cap cases filed last year.

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 19, 2018, 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 cap cases was suspended, there are no premium processing eMails or receipts to be issued for FY19 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 finished issuing receipt notices for the cases that were selected in the H1B lottery. In FY18, the rejected cases began to arrive in early June.


Although the volume of FY19 filings is down, 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.