April 1, 2016 will mark the start of the most anticipated FY 2017 H-1B visa cap season. Successful H-1B beneficiaries will be eligible to start working in the U.S. on October 1, 2016.
H-1B visas are meant for skilled foreign workers specialized in science, engineering, computer programming and other speciality occupation fields. Every year, 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to skilled foreign workers. The H-1B cap for FY 2017 also will remain the same. Similar to the past years, an additional 20,000 H-1B visas will be issued to those with U.S. master’s degrees.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally receives more than 65,000 visa petitions every year. This year too, the agency expects to receive more than 65,000 H-1B applications during the first five days of FY 2017’s program. USCIS will stop accepting applications once the cap is met and the public will be notified that no more applications for the year’s program will be accepted. With the help of a computer generated lottery system, USCIS will select the number of applications required to meet the cap, if more applications are received within the first five days.
If you are planning to file an H-1B petition, make sure to follow the USCIS requirements to avoid delays in processing. Remember to submit all required evidence along with the petition as Requests for Evidence also would also likely delay your petition. To help applicants file their petitions successfully, USCIS will make available an optional checklist, Form M-735, Optional Checklist for Form I-129 H-1B Filings. This checklist will include information on how to complete and file the FY 2017 H-1B visa petition.
Plan your H-1B filing as soon as possible to avoid missing the bus. Careful planning will help you avoid last minute issues.