The filing period for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2014 numerical cap begins on April 1, 2013. USCIS anticipates that it may receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery.
USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. Due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, and in accordance with 8 CFR 103.7(e)(3)(ii), USCIS is announcing that premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher, will begin on April 15, 2013.
USCIS will continue to accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with fee, concurrently with the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, during the time period that premium processing is unavailable – from April 1 to April 14, 2013. Petitioners may also upgrade a pending H-1B cap petition to premium processing once a receipt notice is issued. All requests for premium processing received between April 1, 2013, and April 14, 2013, will be adjudicated when premium processing begins on April 15, 2013.