The filing period for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2014 numerical cap begins on April 1, 2013. USCIS anticipates that it may receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery.
USCIS provides Premium Processing (PP) service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. Due to high PP receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap may be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS announced that PP for cap-subject H-1B petitions will begin on April 15, 2013.
USCIS will continue to accept requests for PP service, with fee, concurrently with cap-subject H-1B petitions between April 1, 2013, and April 14, 2013, but it the 15-day PP period will not begin until April 15, 2013.
PP service for H-1B petitions that are NOT subject to the cap, as well as any other petition eligible for PP (e.g., L-1, I-140, etc.) are not affected by this temporary procedural change (i.e., the 15-day PP period starts when the PP request is received).