The annual H-1B cap is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas reserved for workers with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. college or university.
In 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 172,500 H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2015 during the first week employers could apply, forcing the agency to conduct a lottery.
The USCIS will conduct a lottery this year if it receives sufficient petitions to meet the annual H-1B cap within the first five business days after employers can apply. All petitions that aren’t selected in the lottery will be rejected, as will any H-1B cap petitions filed after the cap has been reached.
Petitioners can still use premium processing for the H-1B cap petitions. However, due to the large number of filings, USCIS will not begin premium processing of the applications until after May 11.
The USCIS said it has developed detailed information, including an optional checklist, on how to complete and submit an H-1B petition for FY 2016.