H1B Visa Update April 3, 2013: There may be a lottery this year!

Most attorneys that had H1B Visas to prepare worked most of last weekend to get the files ready. The goal was to file by April 1, 2013, Monday. According to a recent update by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the 2 Service Centers were not prepared at all for the volumes.

The California Service Center has advised AILA Liaison that it “processed and accepted mail all day” on Monday, April 1, 2013. For deliveries to the VSC, members are reporting that they are receiving confirmation of Tuesday delivery for petitions sent to the VSC (Vermont Service Center) for Monday delivery.

According to information provided by FedEx, both the CSC and the VSC experienced delivery and processing delays during the day on Monday, April 1, 2013 (are we surprised?). AILA Liaison is attempting to get further information from USCIS HQ and the service centers involved.

It is reasonable to believe that the delays are due to volume, that most petitioners requested Monday delivery, and that the service centers are spreading deliveries over the five-day filing window, with the expectation that the cap will be reached sometime during this week.

If the cap is reached within the first five business days of April, all cap-subject petitions filed during those five days will be subject to the lottery. 8 CFR §214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B) reads, in part: “If the final receipt date is any of the first five business days on which petitions subject to the applicable numerical limit may be received (i.e., if the numerical limit is reached on any one of the first five business days that filings can be made), USCIS will randomly apply all of the numbers among the petitions received on any of those five business days, conducting the random selection among the petitions subject to the exemption under section 214(g)(5)(C) of the Act first.”
So we can still get in cases to the service centers during the next few days. Most likely numbers will be used up this week, but maybe not. Best course of action, if your case is ready, just file it.

We will keep you posted with more updates.