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Non-Immigrant Visa Updates: USCIS Completes H-1B Lottery Selections; After Long Wait, E-2 Visas for Israeli Investors to Become Available

April 22, 2019

Updated news from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this spring includes final H-1B lottery selection news and a boon for Israeli investors who will be eligible to apply for E-2 treaty investor visas at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

On April 11, USCIS announced it had received 201,011 H-1B "cap-subject petitions" in the first five days of April. It also reported that it had completed the random lottery selection process for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap petitions. The number of petitions receipted at USCIS increased over the past two years, halting a prior downward trend. Receipts for H-1B filings are being issued for those H-1B petition filings accompanied by requests for change of status.

What Will Happen Now for H-1B Petition Filings?

H-1B filing receipts will arrive in the next several weeks. These receipts reflect the cases filed with fast track premium processing and with accompanying requests to change status. USCIS advised it would not commence adjudicating non-premium processed H-1B selected cases until May 20, 2019.

Should a standard H-1B petition filed in the random selection lottery process be selected, the case may be premium processed through the filing of an additional $1410.00 fee.

The Impact of the H-1B Lotteries

This year, the H-1B lottery selection was switched by USCIS with the intent that U.S. master's degree recipients would have a higher chance of selection in the lottery process. The change in the selection process was presumed by USCIS to increase the numbers for master's degree cap filers by approximately 5,000. This reversal of order in the selection process stemmed from President Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" policy implemented in 2017.

E-2 Visa to Become Available for Israeli Investors

On May 1, the Israeli E-2 treaty investor visa will finally be implemented. While Israel and the United States have had an E-1 Treaty of Trade, the E-2 visa, which allows an individual to live and work in the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, is a versatile opportunity for both individual and corporate investors.

Pursuant to the Treaty of Trade and Commerce between the United States and Israel, Israeli investors will be permitted to apply for E-2 visas at the Tel Aviv Branch Office of the Embassy of the United States. Learn more about the application procedures for the visa and the documentation requirements on the embassy's web site.

E-2 visas for Israeli nationals are to be filed by mail rather than submitted electronically. This long-awaited visa category will enable Israelis an opportunity to direct, develop and expand their companies in the United States.

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