News & Articles

Employers May Face New H-1B Cap Lottery Process for FY2020

Published on November 2, 2018

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is planning on publishing a proposed rule to amend the current H-1B cap lottery process. Although the language of the proposal has not been published at this time, it is anticipated that the proposal would require H-1B petitioners to pre-register for the H-1B cap lottery and wait to submit the complete H-1B petitions with supporting documents until they have been selected in the cap lottery. According to USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna, this proposal is anticipated to be implemented before April 2019. However, as a timeline has not been published by USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security, we cannot be certain whether the proposed pre-registration process will be in place for the upcoming H-1B cap lottery season.

Under the current H-1B cap lottery process, petitioning employers file completed H-1B petitions during the first five business days of April; however, not all H-1B petitions are selected in the H-1B cap lottery, as there is a predefined numerical limit on new H-1B work visas issued each government fiscal year. Specifically, USCIS cannot approve more than 85,000 new H-1B petitions each fiscal year. This total includes 65,000 general H-1Bs and an additional 20,000 H-1Bs for holders of a Master’s or higher degree issued by a U.S. college or university.

If you or your organization is planning on participating in the FY 2020 H-1B cap season, which starts on April 1, 2019, it is highly recommended to contact your immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson & Cleveland as early as December to plan for a successful H-1B season.


Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected]
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].
Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].
Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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