U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. These numbers suggest an acceptance rate of approximately 50%, down from last year’s rate of approximately 66%.
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. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
Last year USCIS did not start issuing receipt notices for accepted cases, and returning rejected cases for several weeks after the lottery was conducted. There is no way to identify whether or not a case has been accepted until the receipt notice or rejected petition is received.