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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received approximately 172,500 initial H-1B petitions during the 2015 fiscal year H-1B filing period that began on April 1, 2014.

Initial H-1B visas are limited by an annual quota. The current number of available H-1B visas is set at 85,000 per fiscal year. Of these, 20,000 are reserved for graduates with an advanced degree from a U.S. institution and an additional 6,800 are set aside for various free trade agreements. 

The demand for H-1B temporary workers has exceeded the supply of visas under the fiscal year 2015 quota. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.  Petitions that are not randomly selected in the lottery will be returned to the petitioner with the filing fees.

USCIS Premium Processing Service for initial H-1B petitions filed under the fiscal year 2015 will begin no later than April 28, 2014.  If USCIS Premium Processing was selected, USCIS will issue a decision or a request for additional evidence for a petition within 15 calendar days.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  Petitions filed to extend the status of current H-1B workers,  change the terms of employment of current H-1B workers, change employers of current H-1B worker and request concurrent H-1B employment in a second H-1B petition will continue to be accepted and processed. 

This information should not be construed as legal advice for any one immigration matter. We will continue to update you as this issue develops and will individually contact you as we receive correspondence from USCIS relating to your particular case.