• The FY 2018 H-1B Cap Has Been Reached
  • May 10, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • USCIS has announced that the annual limit for Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B employment has been met. The agency will continue to accept filings today, but will reject any cap-subject cases received April 8 or later.

    Since April 3, employers have submitted more than enough petitions to meet the quota of 65,000 standard H-1B cap numbers and the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees. Though the precise number of cap filings has not yet been disclosed, USCIS officials have indicated that the overall volume is lower than last year's record 236,000 submissions.

    Employers will not be able to file any further H-1B cap petitions until April 2, 2018. The agency will continue to accept petitions that are not subject to the cap, including extensions, changes of employer, amendments, concurrent employment for existing H-1B workers, and petitions filed by organizations that by law are exempt from the cap.

    What’s Next: The Cap Lotteries

    In the coming days, USCIS will run two lotteries to choose the FY 2018 cases that will be processed to completion.

    One lottery will be used to select enough cases to meet the advanced-degree cap exemption of 20,000. The other lottery will include both regular and advanced-degree cases, and select enough filings to fill the standard quota of 65,000.

    Receipting and Adjudication

    Employers whose petitions are selected for processing should begin to get filing receipts within weeks after the lotteries are run. Receipting could continue for several days or weeks after it begins. Receipts will be mailed to petitioners (or their attorneys) by regular mail. Cases not selected in the lottery will be returned to petitioners with their filing fees, but the timing of returns is not yet known.

    What This Means for Employers

    Employers and foreign nationals should be prepared to wait up to several weeks to learn whether their petitions were accepted in the H-1B cap lotteries. If any of your organization’s cap filings are not chosen, your Fragomen team can assist in identifying alternatives for affected employees.