News Regarding FY2018 H-1B Cap

23:17 04 January in News Updates

April 3, 2017 marks the opening date of the filing window for H-1B petitions seeking a FY2018 (10/1/17 to 9/30/18) cap or quota number.  USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for the 2017 H-1B cap starting Monday, April 3, 2017.  

The H-1B quota limitations are as follows:

Regular cap (Bachelor’s degree):    58,200

Regular cap, Citizen of Chile:           1,400

Regular cap, Citizen of Singapore:   5,400

Master’s cap (Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. University):   20,000


For the past four years the H-1B quota was met as soon as the filing window opened in April, triggering the lottery provision.  This provision requires the USCIS to allow employers to continue to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions for five business days.  All of those petitions are then placed in a random lottery to determine which petitions will receive a cap number and proceed to adjudication.

We anticipate that FY2018 H-1B cap-subject filings will again exceed the quota limitations.  Thus, we encourage you to open any H-1B cap-subject cases as soon as possible so that our firm will have ample time to prepare the cases for filing in early April.

If you anticipate a need to file an H-1B petition under the FY2018 cap (beginning April 3rd), please contact our office as soon as possible.  We recommend initiating H-1B cap cases at this time, although filing with USCIS cannot occur until April 3rd.  Again, please note that by law the effective date (date that H-1B work authorization will take effect) for these petitions cannot be any earlier than October 1, 2017.

Individuals who may need a cap-subject H-1B visa

  1. F-1 students currently working pursuant to Optional Practical Training
  2. Individuals in TN status (pursuant to the NAFTA Treaty)
  3. Individuals who are nearing the end of their L-1B status
  4. Individuals who are nearing their first L-1B extension.  Based on the increased scrutiny by USCIS of the L-1B classification (i.e. increased RFEs and denials), switching to H-1B status rather than filing for an L-1B extension may be a better option depending on the particular case
  5. Individuals who are in their 4th or 5th year in L-1A status and do not qualify as multinational managers for the permanent residency process
  6. Candidates coming from abroad or not currently work authorized
  7. Candidates seeking to transfer an H-1B from a cap-exempt to a cap-subject employer (such as a university to a for-profit company)


Cases which are NOT subject to the H-1B cap

  1. H-1B amendments (filing to change a term or condition of employment for an employee who already holds H-1B status)
  2. H-1B extensions (filing to extend the stay of an employee who already holds H-1B status)
  3. H-1B transfers (filing to transfer an H-1B from Employer A to Employer B)
  4. H-1B petitions for someone who has held an H-1B in the past and has not exhausted the full six years of H-1B time
  5. H-1B petitions filed by cap-exempt employers, such as universities or non-profit research institutions


Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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