H1B Visa Attorney – Clarification of H-1B Lottery System this Year

As I am writing this post, my fingers are hurting from the amount of H1B forms I had to sign today. We are almost ready with our cases. Yet, last minute clients are calling in need of our services. Tomorrow will be the last day we accept cases (I promised my wife:))
The H-1B filing season is upon us once again, fiercer than ever. The first day to file cap-subject petitions for FY 2010 is April 1, 2009. In the event that more petitions are received than the annual cap, USCIS will conduct a lottery to pick petitions to be adjudicated. Additionally, employers that are recipients of TARP funding have new requirements when filling out the newly revised Form I-129 and additional attestation requirements for the Labor Condition application.

USCIS has confirmed that if USCIS determines that they have received a sufficient number of cases in the first five business days of April to reach the cap, then the “lottery” will be based on petitions received all five days. USCIS will not begin to issue receipts, however, until a determination is made that sufficient H-1B petitions have been received within the first five business days of April, ending April 7, 2009.

After the “lottery” is conducted, the USCIS will then issue receipts for those cases which are selected, and the receipts will likely all have the same receipt date, April 8, 2009. USCIS has indicated that guidance will be issued to explain that all petitions received between April 1, 2009, and April 7, 2009, will have the same receipt date. This is important for those F-1 beneficiaries whose OPT will expire between April 1st and April 7th so that Designated School Officers will know that an H-1B petition was timely filed and that a beneficiary may be eligible for cap-gap employment authorization or status based on the actual filing date.

Good luck to all the H1B players!!!