USCIS Received Over 236,000 H-1B Applications for FY 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finished the lottery on selecting applicants for the H-1B working visa and announced they received more than 236,000 applications.

A H-1B is a visa that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States. For an international student who just completed Optional Practical Training (OPT), this is most likely the visa he/she would need in order to keep working in the United States.

H-1B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers in occupations that usually require highly specialized knowledge, for example science, engineering, and computer programming. But H-1Bs can certainly be approved for other fields as well.

There is a limit, however, on how many H-1B visas USCIS awards each year. There is a cap of 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for those with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap. So, in total there are 85,000 H-1Bs assigned to foreign workers each year.

On April 1, 2016 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started accepting H-1B petitions (applications) for the 2017 fiscal year and stopped taking applications on April 7.

USCIS announced in a press release on April 13 that they received more than 236,000 H-1B applications for the 2017 fiscal year. So how do they decide who gets the H-1B?

USCIS implements a computer-generated lottery system that will randomly select applicants. This was used on April 9 to select those to receive the 85,000 visas available. Those who were not selected will receive their applications back along with their filing fees.

There are certain cases when an application is exempt from the H-1B cap. If the company is a non-profit they are exempt from the cap. AND they don’t have to wait until April 1 to apply for the H-1B, they can apply at ANY TIME. A perfect example of an employer exempt from the H-1B cap is a non-profit organization, such as a university or college.

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