Updated numbers for H1B season
USCIS received 95,885 advanced-degree H-1B cap submissions and 94,213 standard H-1B cap submissions during the FY 2019 filing period.
April 12, 2018
USCIS received 8,902 fewer H-1B cap filings than last year. The overall chance of selection in the cap lotteries for this year is approximately 45 percent.
USCIS posted an update regarding their H1B processing today:
On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019.
USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 2, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 6, that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing.
USCIS conducted the selection process for the master’s cap first. All unselected master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
USCIS has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap. Marty & Ellis submitted all of its cap subject applications by April 3, 2019!
The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Cap Season page.
USCIS To Start Trial Program In Blaine, WA For Canadians Traveling To The U.S. As L-1 Business Travelers
From April 30, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2018, the USCIS California Service Center together with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Blaine, Washington, port of entry will test a pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The two agencies are trying to facilitate adjudication and admission of Canadians traveling to the U.S. as L-1 nonimmigrants.
Petitioners choosing to participate in the program will be asked to:
Further details in USCIS' announcement are at this link.
USCIS TO DESTROY UNDELIVERABLE PERMANENT RESIDENT CARDS, EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION CARDS, AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AFTER 60 DAYS
Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS states they will destroy Permanent Resident Cards, Employment Authorization Cards and Travel Documents returned as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service after 60 business days. USCIS encourages applicants to report a change of address within 10 days of relocation using the procedures outlined at uscis.gov/addresschange.
USCIS has updated its website with a redesigned webpage that provides a better estimate of processing times for four forms. The forms are:
In a separate update, USCIS said that for all other forms it "will continue to use its old method to calculate processing times, but will post on its website a range in which the upper number generally reflects 130 percent of the estimated processing time."
Would-be-travelers to the U.S. beware: The line for a U.S. visa could soon be getting a lot longer.
The State Department on Friday proposed to include extra questions about social-media use in visa applications. It wants applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas to submit their social-media handles from the previous five years, according to notices filed by the agency in Federal Register.
The changes, which have to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget after a 60-day public comment period, are part of the Trump administration’s mounting scrutiny on immigrants. Since he took office, U.S. agencies have been rolling out a series of bureaucratic measures that have slowed down legal immigration. They include his travel ban, which blocks citizens from certain majority-Muslim countries, and a flurry of extra demands for information from skilled workers applying for H-1B visas.
“This is an indirect way that the Trump administration is trying to limit immigration to the U.S. that does not require for them to go to Congress,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, of the proposed rules. The U.S. had already been requesting social-media information from people suspected to represent a national security threat. That policy targeted a sliver of travelers to the U.S.—about 65,000. The new measures would cover nearly 15 million people. Along with the handles, the State Department is also asking for a five-year history of email addresses, telephone numbers, and international trips.
The extra information has the potential of significantly increasing the workload of consular officers, says Yale-Loehr, and reducing the number of visas the U.S. issues. The rules could also have economic consequences. People going to the U.S. on vacation might ditch their plans rather than divulging five-years’ worth of personal details.
Some groups criticized the proposed policy on grounds that it will censor immigrants’ communications amongst themselves and with US citizen relatives. “People will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project, in a statement.
Marisa Cianciarulo, a law professor at Chapman University, said anyone active on social media should assume that their posts could be inspected at some point. But she questioned the effectiveness of the questions in screening dangerous visitors. “What trained terrorist, intent on getting into the country to do harm, would honestly answer those questions?” she added.
By Ana Campoy, Quartz, April 2, 2018, http://www.govexec.com/management/2018/04/us-just-found-new-way-delay-visa-applications/147118/
U.S. visa News
Marty & Ellis keeps you informed of the latest news regarding visas to the United States.