USCIS completes H1B visa lottery for Financial year 2017

us h1b visa lottery
USCIS received over 2,36,000 applications for H1 visa for financial year 2017

After receiving more than 2 lakh applications for the much coveted H1B visa for IT professionals, USCIS, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it had completed the computerized draw of lots that would determine the successful applicants.

More than 2,36,000 H-1B petitions were filed within just five days of April 1, when the process was opened, the number being more than thrice the Congressional-mandated cap of 65,000 in the general category for the work visas for highly-skilled workers for Financial Year 2017.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it had also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions for advanced degree exemptions by those foreign students who completed their higher studies from a US academic institute in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, on April 9 to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit, it added. The USCIS has begun issuing receipt notices on selected cases, however, petitioners should expect extended delays in receiving them.

USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing, it said.

As announced on March 16 this year, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16. It would continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

H-1B visa, popular among Indian techies, is used by American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

Given the large number of applications relieved there is only a 35% chance of success for any application.

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