As anticipated, the number of cap-subject H-1B petitions filed by U.S. employers exceeded the 65,000 general cap and the 20,000 master’s degree exemption for fiscal year 2017 (FY2017).

Yesterday, April 7, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS or the Immigration Service) announced that the FY 2017 H-1B cap had been reached and that it had also received more than 20,000 petitions under the master’s or higher degree exemption.

At this point the Immigration Service will turn its attention to initial intake on the H-1B petitions that it received before the cap was reached.  Due to the high volume of petitions received, USCIS stated that it cannot yet say when it will implement use of its computer-generated H-1B Lottery process to determine which petitions will be processed.

As in prior years, petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption will be selected first.  Thereafter, presuming that there are in excess of 20,000 advanced degree petitions, the remaining advanced degree petitions will be added into the 65,000 general cap for consideration.

Petitions that are not selected and are not duplicate filings will be rejected and returned (with unused filing fees) to the petitioner.


Catherine Wadhwani is a partner in Fox Rothschild LLP’s Immigration Practice Group.  You can reach Catherine at (412) 394-5540 or