USCIS announced today that the H-1B cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 has been reached. As expected, USCIS received more than the limit of 65,000 H-1B petitions and also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree cap.
Because the cap has been met, USCIS will use a computer-generated process, known as the H-1B Lottery, to randomly select the petitions that will make up the 65,000 visas for the regular cap and the 20,000 visas for the U.S. advanced degree cap.
As in past years, USCIS will first run the lottery to select the petition under the U.S. advanced degree cap. All advanced degree petitions that are not selected under this cap will become part of the lottery for the 65,000 regular cap. Once the lottery process is completed, USCIS will then reject and return all unselected cap-subject petitions along with the accompanying filing fees.
Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS has indicated they they are currently unable confirm the date the Service will begin the random selection process.
As a reminder, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap, including H-1B Extensions, Amendments, and "Change of Employer" filings.
UPDATE: On April 12, 2016 USCIS announced that the agency had received over 236,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions, including petitions filed for both the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 advanced cap. USCIS also indicated that the computer-generated lottery selection process was completed on April 9th. USCIS still expects to begin Premium Processing adjudication no later than May 16, 2016.
D&S will continue to monitor this and will provide updates as they become available.