Based on the past few years, it’s reasonable to predict that we will see another lottery for FY 2017. From FY 2014 all the way to 2016 there was a lottery in the first week of April for the Regular Cap as well as the Advanced degree Cap.
USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives more than 65,000 petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a computer-generated lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed.
USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice based on historic premium processing receipt levels and the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first five business days of the filing season. In order to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not begin working on premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing until May 16, 2016.
This means that employers requesting premium service may not see USCIS’ action – i.e., an approval, request for evidence (RFE) or denial on their H-1B cap petitions before May 31, 2016.