USCIS Reaches FY 2017 H-1B Cap

USCIS Reaches FY 2017 H-1B Cap

  • April 6, 2016
  • Richard Newman

On April 7, 2016, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the H-1B cap for fiscal 2017, receiving over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.
On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated process, known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 visas for the advanced degree exemption.

Before running the actual lottery, USCIS completed an initial intake for all filings received during the filing period (April 1 – April 7). Early on, USCIS indicated that there were a high number of petition filed for FY 2017.

All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions. Duplicate petitions (i.e. more than one petition filed by the same employer for the same beneficiary) are not allowed, and any such petition will be automatically rejected.

USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. If your petition was previously selected under the cap, and you have not used up 6 years of H-1B, will not be counted against the FY 2017 cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions filed for:

  • H-1B extensions;
  • Change of H-1B employer;
  • Concurrent H-1B petitions (allowing the H-1B worker to work concurrently in a second H-1B position);
  • Change in conditions of employment for current H-1B workers (e,g. change in hours/week, change in work location, etc.)

Certain non-profit organizations are also exempt from the annual H-1B cap, and include:

  • A not for profit institution of higher education (most colleges and universities are non-profit);
  • A not for profit entity related or affiliated to an institution of higher education (such as hospitals and research institutions associated with colleges and universities);
  • A not for profit research organization or a governmental research organization (is an organization that is primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research.)

These cap exempt employers can file H-1B petitions throughout the year regardless of the annual H-1B cap.