UPDATED: After Data Entry of the Selected H1-Bs – What's Next?

UPDATE: Data entry for FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions and those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption is completed. Petitioners will receive receipt notice or an unselected petition depending upon their adjudication.

Petitioners should also anticipate a notification if their I-129 cases were transferred to a different service center. If so, all future correspondence should be sent to the that center for further processing.

Once the H1-B lottery is conducted each year, the anticipation builds for the next thing on the H1-B cycle for the year – the Results! The petitions for FY 2020 were submitted in the first week of April and the total capacity was met within the very first week. The computerized lottery was conducted by USCIS wherein 65,000 regular petitions as well as 20,000 petitions with U.S. advanced degree exemption were randomly selected while the remaining unselected ones will be returned along with the filing fees. So, what happens next?

Here is what’s going on behind-the-scenes while petitioners are waiting for the results of the lottery and what to expect as the process continues.

  • Premium Processing
    For those who want to expedite the processing of their petition adjudication, USCIS offers Premium processing that brings them the results within 15 short days for an additional fee. Starting next week on May 20, 2019 employers can opt for premium processing for change of status petitions. Premium processing for all other cap-subject H-1B petitions is anticipated to begin in June 2019.
  • Receipts
    All selected petitioners should expect to receive receipts for their petitions. Even premium processing can be applied only after the petition has been receipted. While this doesn’t have a stipulated timeline, its right around now that the petitioners should expect to get their receipts in the mail. Several have already been issued and checks been encashed. This phase is normally wrapped up by end of June.
  • For Students
    If while on OPT, a student’s H1-B is selected, their F1 status and work authorization will be extended until September 30 of that calendar year. If the student’s H-1B petition is not selected, work authorization ends either upon receipt of the H-1B rejection notice or the expiration of OPT work authorization, whichever comes later. This is called ‘cap gap’.
  • Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
    As seen after the lotteries in the recent past, RFEs are to be expected. The numbers range anywhere from 30% to 75% of the petitions that receive a RFE with it leaning towards the latter. Hopefully, the submitted petitions do not have any missing information or is insufficient in ample evidence required to establish eligibility for the H-1B visa.

Here are top 10 reasons why your petition may get a RFE this H1 season.

  • Traveling before H1-B adjudication
    Anyone having filed for a change of status should avoid international travel until the adjudication is complete. Should you have to travel at this time, employee will either have to leave the United States and travel to a U.S. consulate to obtain a H-1B visa or the employer will need to file a second H-1B petition with USCIS to request a change of status.

Keep these considerations in mind while awaiting the adjudication of your H1-B petition. Should you have any questions in the meantime, contact an immigration lawyer who will be able to guide you along the process.