USCIS Conducts Random Selection Process for FY 2009 H-1B Visas

Yesterday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted a computer-generated random selection process for H-1B petitions submitted for the Fiscal Year 2009 annual cap. H-1B petitions chosen during this selection process will continue to full adjudication. Individuals whose petitions have been chosen, if approved, will be eligible to enter the U.S. during FY 2009 under the H-1B program.

USCIS noted that they conducted two random selections, one for petitions qualifying for the 20,000 master’s or higher degree exemption category, and another for the general H-1B category that allows for 65,000 H-1B visas. This second selection process included all those master’s cap petitions not chosen in the initial selection, along with all other H-1B petitions submitted.

Roughly 163,000 petitions were received by USCIS during the April 1 to April 7 eligible filing period. Each petition was labeled with a unique numerical identifier. Individuals whose petitions were chosen should receive a receipt notice from USCIS by June 2, 2008. All unselected petitions will be returned with the filing fee, either to the petitioner or their authorized representative. USCIS plans for the total process of adjudication to take about eight to ten weeks. However, all petitions that filed with a request for premium processing, will be adjudicated within fifteen business days. The start date for that fifteen-day period will be April 14, the day the petitions were randomly selected.

Note, finally, that USCIS has placed some petitions in a ‘wait-list’ category. These petitions may be accepted for adjudication if some petitions chosen for the FY 2009 period are denied, withdrawn or found ineligible for other reasons. Petitioners whose cases are wait-listed will be notified of that status via a letter from USCIS. For each wait-listed petition, USCIS intends to either issue a receipt notice or return the petition with its fees within six to eight weeks.

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