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The H-1B cap will most likely be reached within the first few filing days of April. As per law cited below, the USCIS will accept petitions for at least the first five days – until April 5, 2013. If the cap numbers are reached by or before April 5, 2013, all petitions receipted will be put into a random lottery. To re-iterate, even if the USCIS receives more petitions than allowed under the cap, it will continue to receive petitions until April 5, 2013 and then apply a random selection to all the petitions received and receipted.

As per Immigration and Nationality Act 8 CFR Sec. 214.2(h)(7):

“If the final receipt date is any of the first five business days on which petitions subject to the applicable numerical limit may be received (i.e., if the numerical limit is reached on any one of the first five business days that filings can be made), USCIS will randomly apply all of the numbers among the petitions received on any of those five business days…”

From our assessment, based on client interaction, we expect that there will be a substantially larger number of petitions filed this year than in the immediate past couple of years. The USCIS has also released Press Statements with similar information.

Please note that the USCIS will also be suspending Premium Processing for cap subject H-1B cases until April 15, 2013 and those premium cases selected in the lottery will be processed starting on that day.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this issue.

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