On April 7, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H1B 2017 lottery was officially completed. U.S. businesses use the H1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.
During the filing period, which began April 1, 2016, USCIS received over 236,000 H1B petitions including petitions filed for the master’s cap. To screen the 236,000 petitions, USCIS uses a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 regular cap and the 20,000 master’s cap.
What’s Next in the H1B 2017 Lottery?
- If you were selected in the H1B 2017 lottery, the respected parties, either attorneys or employers, handling your H1B visa case would have received a receipt in the mail. They should of then informed you that you were selected for the lottery.
Individuals can also expect to be notified by USCIS that their petition has been selected along with an EAC number to track the status. From there, your designated adjudicating service center will then take over the processing.
- If you were not selected in the H1B 2017 lottery, USCIS will reject and return your petition with their filing fees. However, if determined to be a duplicate filing, it would of been returned without the fee.
In some instances, a petition may be marked as “wait-listed”. When that happens they run the chance of replacing petitions that were selected but then found to be ineligible or denied.
If you requested premium processing with your H1B petition then your petition would of been processed faster in comparison to those who didn’t request it. Receiving about 3,000 more petitions than last year, USCIS began premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16, 2016.
Cap Exempt Petitions
Through out the lottery, USCIS continued to handle petitions that are not associated with the H1B cap for current H-1B workers.
Petitions that will still be accepted and processed:
- Extend the amount of time you may remain in the U.S.
- Change the terms of employment
- Allow the worker to change employers
- Allow worker to be employed in a second H-1B position
H1B Visa Holders Dependents
As a H1B holder, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H4 nonimmigrant classification. The spouse can file a I-765 form for employment authorization as long as the H1B holder has started the process of seeking employment. The H1B holder must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
Period of Stay
H1B visa holders are granted a stay of three years in the U.S. and can be accompanied by their H4 dependents. Your period of stay can be extended past three years, however, it may not be extended past six years.
Your U.S. employer is responsible for any cost associated with your return if they’ve terminated you before the end of your period of authorized stay. If you’ve resigned from your position prior to your authorized period of authorized stay, you’ll be responsible for your own return transportation cost.
You must contact the Service Center that approved your petition in writing if you believe that your employer has not complied with this requirement.
You Weren’t Selected in the H1B 2017 Lottery?
If you weren’t selected in the H1B 2017 lottery, our immigration attorneys can help you begin the process for the next season. Our lawyers have an excellent track record in complex H1B cases including transfers and extensions for individuals as well as small businesses.
SGM Immigration Law attorneys will keep you up to date on any H1B program updates so that you’re fully prepared for the new lottery season.