The Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap Reached: How Does the Lottery Work?

The Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B cap reached; therefore, the maximum has been reached. As of April 3, 2017, the USCIS has temporarily suspended all premium processing for the H-1B petition. The suspension lasts anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the number of waitlisted individuals. While the premium processing is suspended, you still have options.

What is the H-1B Program?

The H-1B program was designed for companies in the U.S. who wish to temporarily employ a foreign worker in an occupation that requires a highly specialized level of knowledge.

The program allows for 65,000 H-1B visas per year for individuals who possess a Bachelor Degree and 20,000 H-1B visas for those with a Master degree.

What You Must Know About the Lottery

Do enter into the H1B lottery, the petition should be filed with USCIS on April 1. Filing any later could affect your chances at being part of the lottery. This year there were 199,000 petitions filed and entered in the lottery. The lottery occurs once the USCIS receives more petitions than they can accept within the first five business days of April. Then they use a computer generated selection, which they promise to be random, that will select petitions until they reach a specific limit.

Even if you do not get selected at random in the lottery, you might have options.

How Post-Lottery Applications Work

Any employer that misses the deadline or worker that is not selected in the lottery who cannot wait for the next year’s filing date has alternative visa options to consider. However, these are not as plentiful in quotas. You might qualify for an O-1, TN, or the L-1, but each has drawbacks that might affect you or your worker’s ability to stay in the United States.

If you have extraordinary abilities that are of the highest standard, you might qualify for the O-1. Also, the L-1 only works for company transfers, so you must work for a parent company in a foreign country to be eligible. The TN only works for Canadian and Mexican workers and covers a particular specialty list.

You can speak with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options for visas. Contact Udall Shumway, PLC now at 480.461.5300 or contact an attorney online.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding The Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap Reached, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.