The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started receiving H-2B petitions on May 31, under the temporary rule which increased the cap on such visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of FY 2018. The government agency received petitions for more beneficiaries compared to the number of H-2B visas available under the supplemental cap in the first five business days of filing.
The lottery ran from May 31 until June 7. On June 11, the USCIS started issuing notifications to petitioners who were selected. Those who had been rejected were able to have their filing fees returned.
If USCIS finds out, after a petition has been filed, that an original approved temporary labor certification (TLC) was not submitted with the petition (according to the instructions in Form I-129) or if a petitioner requests more workers than were originally certified on the TLC, a petition might be denied. When it comes to denied petitions, petitioners will not receive a refund for their fees.
Petitions for the following individuals are exempt from the H-2B visa cap:
- Current H-2B workers in the U.S. seeking to extend their stay and change the terms of their employment or their employers (if applicable)
- Fish roe technicians, fish roe processors, or supervisors of fish roe processing
- Workers performing labor or services in Guam and/or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, until December 31, 2019
USCIS is required to use a computer-generated program to select enough petitions to meet the increased cap for FY 2018 in the lottery. The 15,000 additional visas for FY 2018 are only available to American businesses which will most likely suffer significant harm without the ability to employ all of their H-2B workers requested in their petition.