USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2017 Cap for H-1B Petitions

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has reached the Fiscal Year 2017 cap for H-1B Petitions as of April 7, 2016, the fifth business day of this year's filing season.

According to USCIS, preliminary H-1B filings have exceeded both the regular cap (65,000 H-1B petitions) and the advance degree cap (20,000 H-1B petitions) imposed by Congress.

Under federal regulation, USCIS will now conduct a lottery to determine which H-1B petitions will be accepted for processing and adjudication. To accomplish this, USCIS assigns a random number to each cap-subject H-1B petition received during the first five business days, and then runs a random-selection process to determine which of those cases will be receipted.  

The lottery for H-1B cases filed under the advance degree cap is conducted first.  Any advance degree cap H-1B cases not selected during the first lottery are then included in the regular H-1B cap lottery. 

As of April 8, 2016, USCIS had not announced an estimated time frame for completion of the H-1B lottery selection process. Historically, it has taken USCIS approximately four weeks to receipt all accepted H-1B petitions. USCIS returns the H-1B petitions not accepted for adjudication thereafter, typically sometime during the month of May.

If your H-1B case is not accepted for this filing season, there still may be alternative immigration options available. If you or your employer have any questions about the 2017 H-1B cap, the H-1B process in general, or need to find alternative solutions, please contact our office by telephone at (608) 270-5550, or send us an e-mail.