07 Apr 2017 H-1B Cap Reached on April 7, 2016
April 7, 2017
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has reached the congressionally mandated maximum number of new H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2017. This is referred to as the “cap” on H-1B visas. The H-1B cap was reached in 7 days, between April 1 (the first filing date available) and April 7, 2016.
USCIS will no longer accept new H-1B petitions for FY 2017. USCIS will now take the pool ofall new H-1B visa petitions filed in between April 1 and April 7, 2016, and use a computer-generated process to conduct a lottery that randomly selects the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 new H-1B visas for the general category, and 20,000 new H-1B visas for persons holding advanced degrees at the Master’s or Ph.D. level obtained from a qualified U.S.
The lottery is conducted in two steps. First, USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the 20,000 visas available for advanced degree cap. Second, USCIS will randomly select H-1B
visa petitions for the general cap. The pool comprising the general cap is comprised of new H-1B visa petitions for persons who do not qualify for the advanced degree cap, plus all unselected advanced degree petitions. If a visa petition is not selected in the lottery at either steps 1 or 2, then USCIS will reject the petition and return the USCIS filing fees.
Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS has not yet announced the date it will conduct the lottery. USCIS has, however, indicated previously that it would complete initial intake and conduct the lottery by May 16, 2016.
After completing the initial intake and lottery, USCIS will adjudicate any petitions that were submitted with a request for accelerated Premium Processing. USCIS should thus take action on Premium Processing petitions within fifteen (15) calendar days of May 16, 2016.
Please note that USCIS will continue to accept H-1B visa petitions for extensions of status, change employer and other actions available for H-1B visa petitions that were already counted towards the cap in previous fiscal years.
New H-1B visas for the 2017 cap that are selected in the lottery and approved by USCIS will be eligible to begin work on October 1, 2016 – which is the start of the 2017 fiscal year of the U.S. federal government.
I.A. Donoso & Associates will continue to provide updates on important events regarding the H-1B program. I.A. Donoso & Associates is uniquely positioned to report on these changes because of our location in Washington, D.C.
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