Monday, March 21, 2016
Newsflash –H-1B Applications Deadline
On Friday, April 1, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting H-1B petitions for the fiscal year of 2017. The H-1B program is used by U.S. businesses to hire foreign employees for jobs that necessitate highly specialized knowledge and experience in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.
USCIS’ congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for 2017 is limited to 65,000 applicants. However, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions received for individuals obtaining a U.S. master’s degree or higher, will be exempt from this 65,000 cap.
For the first five (5) business days of this year’s H1-B application program, USCIS anticipates receiving more than their 65,000 petitions. If this occurs, a computer-generated “lottery” process will be used to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps for each category.
USCIS will then automatically reject each of the unselected petitions, in addition to the applications received after the cap has been exceeded.
Although H-1B petitioners can still apply for premium processing with their petitions, USCIS has changed its current premium processing practice in accordance with its past H-1B processing receipt levels with the possibility of the 65,000 cap being met in the first five business days. Thus, “USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 16, 2016.”
Cases will be considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the appropriate fees.
For further information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, please see the H-1B FY 2017 Cap Season Web page.