It is the equivalent of the NCAA March Madness for H-1B petitioners and beneficiaries. The fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season is officially in full swing.

Today, April 1st, is the first day U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2020 cap on April 1, 2019. Once an H-1B petition subject to the cap is filed, it must be selected by USCIS under a random lottery. This is because there is greater demand than there are visa numbers, so initial selection is done on the basis of a random lottery. If one’s H-1B petition is selected, it will then be adjudicated on the merits.  The earliest date employment can begin is October 1, 2020.

There are changes to H-1B program, including (i) the order in which visas will be issued (i.e., graduates with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education will be selected first, over those with bachelor’s degrees); (ii) premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach; and (iii) there is a new H-1B Employer Data Hub (click here) where one can see who is requesting H-1B visas for professional workers. Click here for more information about the H-1B FY 2020 Cap Season.

For next year’s program, there will be a registration system in place. Click here to read more about the electronic registration program for fiscal year 2021.