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Reminder about the Upcoming H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Cap Season – Lottery Opens on April 1, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

On April 1, 2017, USCIS will start accepting H-1B visa petitions for consideration in this year’s H-1B lottery. Under the H-1B lottery program, the congressionally mandated “cap” on H-1B visas filed under the Bachelor’s cap is 65,000; there is an additional quota of 20,000 H-1B visas for applicants with a U.S. Master’s or higher degree. Once the filing period opens on April 1 of each year, the agency monitors the number of petitions received and notifies the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives more than enough petitions to meet the regular cap during the first five (5) business days, the agency will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed.

Last year, USCIS announced that on April 7, 2016, it had received more than 236,000 H-1B visa petitions for consideration in the FY 2017 lottery.
In light of the historic number of filings in recent years, as well as increased USCIS scrutiny of petitions and the extensive documentation required, we encourage employers to act quickly to allow sufficient time to prepare and timely file the H-1B petitions on April 1, 2017, the earliest date USCIS will accept H-1B petitions for FY 2018.
If you have a potential new hire, or an OPT/CPT international student you may wish to sponsor for continued employment with your organization, we should review eligibility and requirements now so we may commence preparations as soon as possible. Please note that if an application is selected and approved, the employee’s start date in H-1B status will not be until October 1, 2017 and will last for an initial period of up to three (3) years.
For additional information or assistance with exploring H-1B eligibility, please contact the SIL attorney you are working with, or for more general inquiries, please contact us at  

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