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Application Period for H1-B Visas Closes Within Just Five Days

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this morning that it has reached the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018, just 5 days after the agency began accepting applications (April 3). USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the statutory quota of 65,000 visas in the "Regular Cap" category and the 20,000 visa quota under the advanced U.S. degree exemption, also known as the "Master's Cap."

For the fifth year in a row, USCIS will conduct a lottery to determine which petitions will be selected. Lottery selection for the Master’s Cap will be conducted first. Cases not selected in that category will be included in the lottery for applications submitted under the Regular Cap. All petitions that are not selected will be returned to employers.

In its press release, USCIS did not announce how many applications it received. Last year, the agency received over 236,000 petitions. Given USCIS reached the visa cap within just days, which is consistent with the past few years, it is likely they received a similar number of applications this year, if not more.

The H1-B Program is a temporary non-immigrant visa category that allows American employers to apply for highly educated foreign professionals to work in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Employers seeking to fill jobs in fields such as science, engineering, and technology are common recipients of H1-B visas. Foreign nationals who hold a H-1B visa may work in the U.S. for 3 years, with a possible 3-year extension (6 years max). The number of H1-B visas available each year is set by Congress. Currently, there is an annual cap of 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 visas available for foreign nationals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution.

Updates will be posted on our blog as they become available.


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