March 20, 2019

USCIS Announces H-1B Cap Lottery Updates for Fiscal Year 2020

On March 19, 2019, USCIS announced that it will accept H-1B Cap petitions for Premium Processing under a “two-phased approach.” First, cap petitions requesting a change of status will be permitted to file an I-907, Request for Premium Processing concurrently with the H-1B Cap petition. However, USCIS will not begin processing Form I-907 requests until May 20, 2019.

Premium Processing requests for change of status petitions may either be filed concurrently with the H-1B cap petition, or after May 20, 2019. In other words, Premium Processing upgrade requests filed separately between April 1 and May 20, 2019, will be rejected by USCIS.

Premium Processing for all other H-1B Cap petitions will not begin until at least June 2019. If a petitioner is not requesting a change of status, the Premium Processing request cannot be filed concurrently. Instead, these petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to Premium Processing at a later time. USCIS will notify the public when Premium Processing will begin for petitions not requesting a change of status under the cap.

In the same announcement, USCIS also explained how it will be publishing data on its new H-1B Employer Data Hub beginning April 1, 2019. The Data Hub will allow the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code. The H-1B Employer Data Hub is being instituted as part of the president’s Buy American, Hire American executive order.

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