March 24, 2009
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a confirmation of how the H-1B lottery will be conducted this year. It is anticipated that the quota will fill up in the first few days after the initial filing date of April 1, 2009. CIS has confirmed that if the agency receives enough cases to fill the cap within the first 5 business days in April, then the "lottery" will based on all applications that were received between April 1 through April 7.
CIS has also indicated that those cases selected in the lottery will have the same receipt date. This means that there should be no difference in how your H-1B case will be considered as long as your case is submitted on or before April 7, 2009.
If the CIS receives an insufficient number of H-1B applications within the first 5 business days of April, CIS will continue to accept petitions until the day which the agency determines that enough applications ahve finally been received. If that is the case, then CIS will conduct a lottery for those cases that are received on the last receipt date.
It is certainly going to be interesting to find out when the quota will be filled this year. Many are making predictions that the cap will be reached on April 1. I'm going to be silent on the issue but let's not take chances. Get your application in by April 7 if at all possible!