January 19, 2006
USCIS announced yesterday, January 18th, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the maximum of 20,000 H-1Bs that are set aside annually for foreign national employees who hold a Master's degree or Doctorate degree from a U.S. institution.
All such H-1B cases received by USCIS on or before January 13th will be processed. However, cases received on January 17th, the next business day due to the Martin Luther King, Jr., long weekend, are subject to a random selection process (i.e., a lottery system) to ensure that just enough H-1B cases are accepted to meet the 20,000 maximum.
Cases that were received by USCIS after January 17th, as well as those received on January 17th but not selected through the random selection process, will be returned with all USCIS filing fees. Petitioners may re-submit their H-1B petitions as early as April 1, 2006, in which case the H-1B would have a start date that is no earlier than October 1, 2006, the start of the next fiscal year.