H1-B Cap Has Been Reached for Fiscal Year 2018

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 10, 2017

On April 7, 2017, the US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the cap for H1-B visa processing has been reached for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018). Congress had mandated a 65,000-visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018.

In addition, USCIS has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa US advanced degree exemption, also known as the master's cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. In addition, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US;
  • 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.

Lastly, employers may be able to file H1-B visa petitions under certain exemptions to the cap available under specific trade agreements.

However, USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

In addition to the cap, employers may be facing longer processing times. As of April 3, 2017, USCIS suspended premium processing for H1-B petitions. While the suspension is temporary, it may remain in effect for as long as six months. USCIS continues to review requests for expedited processing on a case-by-case basis, although they are not often granted.