For the first time since 2008, the 65,000 H-1B cap has been reached within the first week of the filing period, with a total of approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS also announced that it received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. 

On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.  For cap-subject petitions not selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. USCIS conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first; thus, all advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. H-1B petitioners will be notified via regular U.S. postal mail whether their petitions have been selected for adjudication. Premium-processed cases can expect to obtain e-mail notification of acceptance, although the adjudication of premium-processed H-1B cap cases will not begin until April 15, 2013.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  These include petitions for physicians with certain J waivers; petitions filed by institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, by nonprofit research organizations, or by governmental research organizations; and those petitions filed on behalf of H-1B workers who previously have been counted against the cap.