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UNITED STATES – Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap Reached Already

On April 7, 2016, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received sufficient quota-subject H-1B filings for government fiscal year 2017 (1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017) to meet both the general H-1B quota (65,000) for individuals holding a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and the additional quota (20,000) for individuals holding a U.S. master’s or other advanced degree.

H-1B Lottery for 2017

Since the USCIS has already received more than 65,000 petitions and more than 20,000 “advanced degree” exemption petitions, it will run a “lottery” to determine which should proceed for full review and adjudication.

The “lottery” is a computer-generated random selection process of all H-1B petitions received during the 1-7 April 2016 filing period. The petitions selected by lottery will continue for full adjudication.

The first lottery will be run on "advanced degree" exemption petitions. All "advanced degree" petitions not selected as part of the initial quota will then be placed into the lottery for the 65,000 general category. All petitions not selected in the lottery will be returned to the attorney or petitioner.

New H-1B workers will only be eligible to begin employment on 1 October 2016, with some limited exceptions, such as students eligible to extend their stay in the U.S. and continued work authorization under Optional Practical Training (OPT) and a “cap gap” exception.


USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions submitted to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Action Items

  • Note that the H-1B caps for Fiscal Year 2017 have already been reached, although bear in mind that many H-1B petitions are exempt from the cap.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Maggio and Kattar.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.