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An Approximate Timeline for the FY2020 H-1B Visa Process April 24, 2019

Financial District, Manhattan
An Approximate Timeline for the FY2020 H-1B Visa Process, Manhattan, New York

The lottery for cap-subject H-1B visas occurred in the first week of April. Now that the petitions are in, immigration law officials will select future visa holders in a process that is expected to take until October or even later. Here’s what H-1B lawyers recommend you know about the process.

A Timeline for the 2020 H-1B Lottery


All petitioners for the petitions subject to the annual cap should be received between April 1 to 5. Because of the high demand for the desirable H-1B visa, USCIS will probably announce that the quota has been filled around April 12. In the middle of the month, USCIS will use a computer-generated random lottery process to select petitions until the cap is reached.


h-1b lawyerFrom the middle of April until the beginning of May, USCIS will start sending processing receipts to petitioners. This year, they will start with advanced degree petitions before moving on to the rest. At any time from this point until the end of the process, your H-1B lawyer may receive a notice that your petition has been approved.

June to August

Throughout the summer, USCIS will return any petitions that were not selected. Processing of petitions chosen in the lottery will likely continue into the fall.

October 1

At the beginning of FY2020, petitioners who have received their H-1B visa can begin working. If you were granted an extension on your Optional Practical Training (OPT) period, this status expires at the beginning of October if your H-1B petition is still pending. While most petitions will have been adjudicated, understand that processing may take well into November.


Navigating the complexities of the constantly changing immigration system often requires the guidance of an experienced H-1B lawyer. As one of New York’s most respected immigration law firms, Berd & Klauss, PLLC offers effective legal advice to clients from across the world. They’re informed by an up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest developments. Visit their website for more on their nonimmigrant visa services, follow their Twitter for more legal news and updates, or call (212) 461-7152 to consult with a skilled NYC H-1B lawyer today.