USCIS Reaches 2017 H-1B Visa Cap/Quota

Posted by at 7 April, at 17 : 20 PM Print | Email Email | This page as PDF PDF

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USCIS Reaches 2017 H-1B Visa Cap/Quota 


 H-1B Annual Work Visa Cap  

On April 1, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting H-1B Cap Petitions for the annual 65,000 government-mandated cap for the 2017 fiscal year (FY), and the 20,000 exemption for H-1B under the U.S. advanced degree.   On April 7, 2016, USCIS had received more than sufficient H-1B Cap Petitions to meet the cap.   Due to the overwhelming numbers of H-1B Cap Petitions received, USCIS is not yet certain when it will conduct its computer-generated random selection process (lottery).   

Those under U.S. advanced degree not selected within the 20,000 visa numbers will be processed under random selection for the 65,000 limit. 

For prior H-1B cap-seasons, USCIS began premium processing for selected H-1B Cap cases a few weeks after April 1.  


What is an H-1B?  

H-1B petitions are temporary work visas for positions requiring theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields for qualified foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S.  Many H-1B foreign nationals have successfully gone on to apply for and obtain lawful permanent residence status (also known as, green card).  

Foreign nationals with at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent (equivalent degree and/or work experience) may be sponsored for H-1B petitions.  A broad range of positions may fall under H-1B specialty occupations, and each case depends on a position’s own set of circumstances necessitating complex legal analysis. 


Some H-1Bs Are Not Subject to H-1B Annual Work Visa Cap 

Not all H-1B petitions are subject to annual visa cap, depending on the types of H-1B petition being filed, or the types of entity-sponsor.  For examples, foreign nationals who already have approved H-1B petitions or H-1B status may still have H-1B petitions filed for them to extend their H-1B status, or to change or add H-1B employers. 


Duration of H-1B 

In general, H-1B petitions/work visas are approved for three years each time (up to a total of 6 years).  Under certain circumstances, H-1B work visas can be extended beyond the 6-year maximum time limitation.


 H-1Bs Not Selected or Filed When All H-1B Annual Work Visas Are Used Up  

Potential H-1B candidates who do not make it to the Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B visa quota (October 1, 2016 employment start-date or later) have the options to have their H-1B cap petitions submitted or resubmitted to USCIS on or after April 1, 2017 (October 1, 2017 employment start-date or later) for the Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B visa quota. They can also consider other immigration options such as other nonimmigrant work status and self-petition green card filings, if eligible. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice or attorney-client relationship. By Aik Wan Kok, Lawyer USA Immigration Services, at Tiya; Tel: 703-772-8224 & koka at tiyalaw dot com; Direct dial from abroad: 001-703-772-8224; ; ;

Need help with green card, work visas, work permit, sponsoring family, sponsoring employees, sponsoring relatives, hardship waivers, marriage waiver, and cases with USCIS, Department of Labor or immigration?  We represent employers, companies, individuals and families in U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law.  Our clients are based within the U.S. and internationally.  We represent diverse immigration cases in naturalization/citizenship, green card, work visas, waiver and other immigration matters.  Some of our cases including, but are not limiting, extraordinary ability; national interest waiver; PERM with Department of Labor; I-130 for sponsoring relatives and families (child, spouse, brother, sister, stepchild); I-140 for employment; I-485 to adjust status; I-765 work permit/employment authorization; I-131 for international travel and returning to the U.S; I-601 extreme hardship waiver for spouse, parent, son and/or daughter or child of U.S. citizen or green card holder; I-751 joint filing or waiver; I-212 waiver for deportation or removal order; J waiver; H-1B professional worker; H-2B temporary worker; L executive, manager and specialized knowledge professional transferring from overseas; B-1 business visitor to the U.S.; B-2 tourist visiting the U.S.; F-1 student coming to study in the U.S.; consular processing with U.S. consulates; consular processing via National Visa Centers; filing cases with the USCIS; filing cases with the U.S. Department of Labor; PERM audit; RFE Request for Evidence by USCIS; NOID Notice of Intention to Deny from USCIS; and Immigration Courts.

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