• FY 2014 H-1B Cap Season Begins
  • April 4, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today began to accept H-1B cap filings for employment in Fiscal Year 2014, which begins October 1, 2013.

    Demand for FY 2014 H-1B employment is expected to be high and the pool of 85,000 cap slots - 65,000 standard cap numbers and 20,000 additional numbers for holders of U.S. advanced degrees - is likely to be exhausted quickly.

    If USCIS receives more than enough cap petitions to use up the entire quota between today and Friday, April 5 - the first five business days of the filing season, which is considered a single filing period - it will run a computerized lottery to choose the cases that will be processed to completion. Cases not selected in the lottery will be rejected and returned.

    If the cap is not reached during the first five business days, USCIS will accept filings on a day-by-day basis until the quota is filled.

    Filing Cap Cases After April 5

    H-1B cap petitions received no later than April 5, 2013 have the best chance of being accepted for processing, and employers should do their utmost to file cases so that they are received at USCIS by this date. But employers who are unable to file by April 5 should nonetheless continue to submit their cap petitions. The H-1B cap is likely to be reached in the first five days of the filing, but in the event that it is not, cases filed after April 5 could still secure a cap number.

    Processing Slowdowns Expected

    Employers should be prepared for processing slowdowns during the initial days of the filing season. USCIS will almost certainly receive a very large number of H-1B petitions between now and April 5. It could take several weeks or more for the agency to open up each filing, enter case data into its systems, conduct the selection lottery (if necessary) and issue filing receipts. It may also take several days or more for USCIS to announce whether the cap has been reached.

    Premium Processing of Cap Cases Delayed Until April 15

    This season, USCIS will postpone the start of H-1B cap premium processing until April 15, 2013. Employers will be able to request premium service between April 1 and April 14, but the agency will not begin working on premium cap cases until April 15. The extra time will allow the agency to complete data entry for the cases it receives during this period.

    Premium processing services for all other eligible employment-based petitions should remain available as usual.