Q: How Does USCIS Determine the Number of Petitions to Select in the Lottery?
A: USCIS utilizes data from prior FYs to project the number of petitions to select. SCOPS is responsible for reviewing data and projecting the target number. After filing window is closed, SCOPS monitors petition approvals to help project numbers for next FY.
Q: In what order does the random selection occur?
A: Master’s lottery is run first. Then unselected master’s petitions go into regular cap pool and regular lottery is run.
Q: What is the approximate timeline for initial processing? Is cashing of check an indicator of case acceptance?
A: Fees are normally deposited the first business day after data processing. If fees have not been cashed two business days after USCIS announces data processing is complete, this may be an indicator the petition was not accepted.
Q: Can you tell from the receipt whether a master’s degree beneficiary was selected in the master’s lottery or the regular lottery?
A: Receipt notices do not differentiate and processing date is not an indicator, but USCIS can tell internally. (Note: Person posing the question asked how the petitioner can learn this information. USCIS said it would take this question back. Important for purposes of university accreditation).
Source: AILA Doc. No. 18070932.