FYI – Clarification on H-1B Lottery System

Many employers have been questioning whether the regulation governing the “lottery” system will apply to this year’s H-1B cap. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has provided that the lottery will apply this year. In accordance with the regulation, the USCIS randomly selects the number of petition’s necessary to reach the cap from petitions received on the final receipt date. This year, it has been confirmed that if USCIS determines that they have received a sufficient number of cases in the first five business days of April to reach the cap, then the “lottery” will be based on petitions received all five days. USCIS will not begin to issue receipts, however, until a determination is made that sufficient H-1B petitions have been received within the first five business days of April, ending April 7, 2009. After the “lottery” is conducted, the USCIS will then issue receipts for those cases which are selected, and the receipts will likely all have the same receipt date, April 8, 2009. All petitions received between April 1, 2009, and April 7, 2009, will have the same receipt date.

If you have any further questions regarding the H-1B lottery system or the H-1B nonimmigrant visa in general, please contact our office.