USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap Petitions
On 05/17/2019, USCIS announced that it has completed initial data entry of all FY 2020 H-1B cap cases selected in the lotteries, including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exceptions. Troglia•Kaplan’s first FY 2020 H-1B cap receipt notice was received on 04/29/2019 with a Notice Date of 04/20/2019. Receipting could continue for several more days now that data entry is finished. USCIS will soon begin to return unselected cases and fee checks to employers, but has not identified a time frame for returns.
What does the receipt notice mean?
If you received the receipt notice from USCIS for your FY 2020 H-1B cap petition, it means that your case has been selected in the lotteries and will be processed and adjudicated by the USCIS. If your case was not selected in the lotteries, USCIS will not issue a receipt notice for your case and will return the petition with filing fee checks to the employers or the attorney.
What’s next for receipted H-1B cap petitions?
USCIS will now adjudicate the 85,000 cases selected in the FY 2020 cap lotteries. As announced in March, USCIS adjudicators will begin working on cases filed under premium processing (expedited 15-calendar-day processing) by May 20. USCIS should complete initial adjudication of premium cases by June 4, and employers should receive an approval, request for evidence (RFE), intent to deny or denial from USCIS by this date.
USCIS is expected to begin working on regular processed cases by early to mid-June and continue for the next several months. In past years, USCIS has aimed to finish initial adjudication by late August, however, last year’s H-1B cap adjudication period extended well into March 2019. In the course of adjudicating H-1B cap petitions, USCIS may transfer some cases between its California and Vermont Service Centers to balance workload. If a case is transferred, USCIS will issue a notice to the employers.
If an adjudicator requires additional facts or documentation in a cap case, the adjudicator will issue a request for evidence (RFE). If your organization receives an RFE, your employer or attorneys may ask you to provide additional information to aid in the preparation of a response. Working promptly with your attorney will help minimize processing delays. The sooner your response is submitted, the greater the likelihood that your case can be decided in time for an October 1 H-1B employment start date.
As an F-1 OPT student, how long can I continue working while my H-1B cap case is pending?
If your H-1B cap petition was filed before your OPT expires and you received the receipt notice from USCIS, then you may obtain documentation (Cap Gap I-20) to extend your work authorization until September 30 from the International Student Services of your University. After September 30, you may remain in the U.S. while the H-1B petition is pending but you must stop working until the H-1B petition is approved.
As an F-1 OPT student, can I travel outside the U.S. while my H-1B cap petition is pending?
We strongly recommend not to travel internationally while your H-1B case is pending. Most F-1 OPT students’ H-1B cap petitions was filed with a change of status (from F-1 to H-1B). If you travel internationally while your change of status application is pending, then the application will be considered abandoned. While your H-1B might be approved, you may have to return to your home country to obtain an H-1B visa to reenter the U.S. in order to commence your employment under as an H-1B worker.
Troglia Kaplan will continue to provide regular updates as FY 2020 H-1B cap cases progress. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. This update is for informational purposes only.