H-1B Cap Reached: Majority of Applications by Indian Companies: 250k Applications in 5 Days

Detail from a US visa document. Selective focus with point of focus in the center of the picture.

WASHINGTON (TIP): The US government is believed to have received about 250,000 petitions for H-1B visas – the most sought after American work visas — with a majority of them being from either Indian companies or having huge footprint in India.

In 2015, about 2,30,000 petitions for H1-B visa were received. This year, the US believes it may have received about 2,50,000 petitions for the most sought-after work visa.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services yesterday, April 6 said it has reached the Congressional mandated cap for H-1B visas in the general category and also the 20,000 for those who completed higher education from inside the US in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

USCIS did not give the number of H-1B petitions it received since April 1, when it started accepting applications for this most coveted visa for the fiscal year 2017 beginning October 1, this year. But, it says the successful petitions would be determined by a computerized draw of lots.

As of now, below are the H1B cap number for fiscal year 2017. The below numbers are confirmed in press release by USCIS on Mar 16, 2016.

  • Regular H1B Quota: 65,000
  • H1B Master’s Degree Quota (only US Master Degrees): 20,000
  • Out of the above, a total of 6,800 is usually set aside for Singapore and Chile citizens as part of the free trade agreement between them.

Summary of H1B 2017 Cap Reached News from USCIS

  • Congressionally mandated H1B visa cap for FY 2017 reached as USCIS received enough number of petitions for this fiscal year 2017.
  • USCIS has also received more than 20,000 petitions for the master’s cap.

H1B 2017 Lottery Details:

  • As there were more petitions received by USCIS than required for the H1B cap, USCIS will conduct a random selection process, aka popularly called as H1B lottery, to pick the necessary cap count of 65,000 petitions for regular quota and 20,000 for master’s quota to fulfill the FY 2017 cap.
  • Lottery will be conducted for US Master’s students quota first and then the unselected petitions will be part of the general group to conduct lottery for the selecting the remaining 65,000 petitions.
  • All the unselected petitions, which are not duplicate will be rejected and return along with the filing fees
  • USCIS will consider all the H1B petitions received during the 5-day filing window from April 1st through April 7th for conducting this lottery.
  • H1B Lottery Date: As there were lot of H1B petitions filed, USCIS at the moment cannot really announce the date of H1B Lottery, as they need to do the initial paperwork for all the petitions so that the lottery can be conducted for the petitions received properly.

H1B Cap Exempt Petitions:

  • USCIS will NOT include the cap-exempt petitions, aka who already have filed earlier and counted towards H1B cap, in the lottery selection process.
  • USCIS will continue to accept all the cap-exempt petitions that are filed with USCIS that fall under the below categories
  • H1B transfers, H1B extensions
  • H1B petitions for changes in employment terms
  • Second H1B petition to work concurrently for those who have been part of cap.
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