January 05, 2017

H-1B CAP Season – Fiscal Year 2018

On April 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 cap. Employers use the H-1B visa program to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, including but not limited to: scientists, doctors, engineers, accountants, and computer analysts and programmers.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas is 65,000. An advanced degree exemption is available for 20,000 beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Once that limit is reached, petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher will count against the regular cap.

Based on trends for previous years, we expect that the number of petitions will exceed the available slots. USCIS will conduct a lottery with all petitions filed within the first five business days in April. We recommend starting this process in February so the H-1B petition is ready to be filed on April 1st.

Here is a summary of past H-1B Visa Numbers:

FY 2017 H-1B Visa Cap: USCIS received 236,000 H-1B Petitions

FY 2016 H-1B Visa Cap: USCIS received 233,000 H-1B Petitions

For more information about the H-1B program, or if you have interest in applying for an H-1B Visa for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, please contact our office.

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