U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2016, that more than 236,000 cap subject H-1B petitions were received between April 1 and April 7 — about 3,000 more petitions for FY 2017 were filed this year than during the same period last year. The total included both U.S. advanced degree exemption cases and regular H-1B cap cases. USCIS did not provide a breakdown of how many cases were received in each category. Because there were sufficient cases to meet the annual cap of 65,000 for regular cases and 20,000 U.S. advanced degree exemption cases, USCIS conducted a computer-generated random selection process on April 9.
USCIS first conducted a random lottery of the 20,000 H-1B cases eligible under the master's cap exemption. Cases not selected as one of the 20,000 under the master's cap exemption were then included in the random lottery for the 65,000 allotment. Those cap-subject petitions not selected during the random lottery will be sent back, with filing fees. As previously announced, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16, 2016. Likely, USCIS will start processing cases sooner than May 16, 2016, as they have done in the last few years. With premium processing cases, USCIS will confirm via email receipt notices indicating that processing has begun. Such notifications have started to arrive. This notification will indicate that a case was selected under the random lottery. Hard copy receipts will be sent by mail for cases filed without premium processing that were selected in the lottery. Those receipt notices may be issued up to several weeks after the April 9 lottery.
Additional information from USCIS can be found in “USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2017.”