*The H1B cap for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017 start-date) has been filled.

Cap-subject applications will not be accepted again until April 1, 2018 (Fiscal Year 2019) for an October 1, 2018 start-date.

Track the H-1B Visa cap count from past years – See below!

See the following link on our site for more info on the H-1B Visa: H1B Visa Lawyer


The H-1B visa cap count numbers clarified:

How many H-1B visas are available every year and what is the “H-1B Visa cap” or “H-1B Visa quota”?

On April 1 of every year the United States government makes 65,000 regular cap H1b visas and 20,000 master’s cap H1b visas available for the upcoming government “fiscal year”. The government fiscal year begins on October 1st of every year.

For example, when the H-1B visa window opened on April 1, 2017, the government made available H-1B visas for the 2018 fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2018. The H-1B visa “cap” is merely the annual numerical limitation set by Congress on the number of workers authorized to obtain an H-1B visa.

The cap is 65,000 in the regular cap category and 20,000 in the master’s cap category.

Is it true that a certain number of H-1B visas are set aside every year for citizens of Singapore and Chile?

Yes, this is true!

Among the 65,000 regular cap H-1B visas, 6,800 are set aside for Singaporean and Chilean nationals under the terms of the United States-Chile and United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. These visas are known as H-1B1 visas.  The H-1B1 visa for nationals of Singapore and Chile is a great H-1B alternative.

If 6,800 H-1B visas are set aside for nationals of Chile and Singapore, does that mean there are really only 58,200 regular cap H-1Bs available to everyone else?

Technically, yes, the number of regular cap H-1B visas available to everyone else is brought down to 58,200 after deducting the H-1B1s set aside for those from Chile and Singapore.

However, when the 6,800 H-1B1s aren’t used up in a particular year they are added back to the regular cap allotment for the next year. For example, in FY2010 (April 1, 2009 filing date), 6,350 H1B1s went unused.

Therefore these 6,350 H-1B1 visas were all added to the regular cap for FY2011 (April 1, 2010 filing date) bringing the true number of regular cap H-1B visas available to everyone to 64,550 for FY2011 (65,000 – 6,800 + 6,350 = 64,550). H-1B1s designated for nationals of Chile and Singapore are almost always significantly underused every year.

Are H-1B Visas still available?

No, USCIS announced on April 7, 2017, that they received a sufficient number of H-1B applications to reach the cap for FY 2018 for both the regular cap and masters cap. Unless you have already been subject to the cap or you are applying for a position at a cap-exempt employer, you must wait until April 1, 2018 to file an H-1B application.

However, don’t wait until then to start working on your application, as you should get started at least several months in advance to ensure a timely filing!

It’s past April 1, can I still submit an H1B application?

Only if the H-1B cap has not been filled or you have already been subject to the cap or your employer is cap exempt. April 1 is only the date that the new allotment of H-1B visas for the upcoming fiscal year becomes available.

April 1 is the earliest date that you may submit an H-1B application for the upcoming fiscal year (October 1 start-date).

Do I have to submit my application by October 1?

No.

The significance of October 1 is that it is the begining of the government’s fiscal year. This is important in the H-1B visa context because the H-1B regulations state that if you are applying for an H-1B for the first time and your application is “cap-subject”, you may not request an employment start-date earlier than October 1.

Of course, you can always request a start-date after October 1 as long as the date is not more than 6 months in advance of when you file your application and you are able to maintain a legal status in the United States (not relevant if you are not requesting a change of status in the US).

For example, if you file an application on November 1, you can request a start date as far in advance as May 1.

What has been the trend over the past few years in regard to how quickly the H1B cap has been filled?

Let’s look at the 7-year period from Fiscal Year 2008 to Fiscal Year 2016: FY 2016) The cap filled on April 7, 2015 and the USCIS reported that they received 233,000 petitions within the first 5 days of April;  FY 2015) The cap filled on April 7, 2014 and the USCIS reported that they received 172,500 petitions within the first 5 days; FY 2014) The cap filled on April 5, 2013 and USCIS reported that they received 124,000 petitions within the first 5 days; FY 2013) The cap filled on June 11, 2012 in Fiscal Year 2013 (April 1, 2012 filing window); FY 2012) The cap filled on November 22, 2011 in Fiscal Year 2012 (April 1, 2011 filing window); FY 2011) In Fiscal Year 2011 (April 1, 2010 filing window), the H1B cap remained open until January 26, 2011; and FY 2010) In Fiscal Year 2010 (April 1, 2009 filing window), the H-1B cap remained open until December 2009.

H-1B visa demand picked up dramatically in Fiscal Years 2014, 2015 and 2016, the three most recent years, due in part to an improvement in the economy, particularly the IT sector.

Although it’s very early to make predictions, if the economy remains the same or becomes stronger, we would imagine similar demand for Fiscal Year 2017 (April 1, 2016). Prior to FY 2014, the last time we saw a similar demand for the H-1B visa was in 2008 and 2007.

For example, on April 7, 2008 (Fiscal Year 2009), a total of 190,000 total applications were received and by April 3, 2007 (Fiscal Year 2008), a total of 150,000 applications were received. In both of those years the USCIS was forced to conduct a lottery of all the cap-subject H-1B visa petitions submitted and the cap was closed off in early April.

What is the H-1B Visa lottery?

The H-1B visa lottery is a lottery that the USCIS will conduct if it receives more H-1B visas than there are spots available.

For example, in Fiscal Year 2016, the USCIS conducted a lottery for the 233,000 approximate petitions received during the first five business days that opened on April 1, 2015.

When the USCIS conducts an H-1B lottery, they first conduct the lottery for master’s cap cases. Any master’s cap applications not selected will be part of the random lottery selection process for regular cap cases. A lottery also occurred within the first five days of April in FY 2015 (April 1, 2014) and FY 2014 (April 1, 2013) as well.

Prior to FY 2014, a lottery of this nature so early on in the year hadn’t occurred since 2008 and 2007. For example, in 2008 and 2007 the USCIS conducted a lottery in early April in selecting applications to adjudicate since they received significantly more applications than there were spots available. The USCIS will only conduct a lottery in early April when they receive more petitions than the 65,000 and 20,000 spots available.

If you submit a petition and there are still H-1b visa numbers available then you will not be subject to a lottery.

Oftentimes, when the H-1B numbers are running out and it’s clear that the cap will fill any day, the USCIS will conduct a lottery of all petitions received within the last few days, as there will almost definitely be more petitions coming in than there are H-1b numbers remaining. For example, the USCIS did this at the end of January 2011 when the numbers were running out.

I have a United States Master’s degree. What happens if the master’s cap fills up but the regular cap remains open?

If the master’s degree cap fills, but the regular cap remains open anyone applying with a United States master’s degree or higher will be added to the regular cap category. There will be no difference in the adjudication process.

If my petition is not selected as part of an H-1B lottery, what happens to the petition and the filing fees?

If your petition is not selected as part of the H-1B lottery, your petition and all government filing fees are returned by the USCIS along with a short cover letter explaining that your H-1B petition was not selected.

I’ve already been approved for another work visa, such as the O-1 or TN, will I still be subject to the H-1B cap?

Yes, even if you’ve already been approved for another work visa, such as the TN Visa, L-1 Visa, or O-1 Visa, you will still be subject to the H-1B cap. That means you are also still subject to the April 1 filing window and the October 1 start-date. This should be taken into consideration in case a strategy needs to be developed in order to maintain legal status in the United States.

Where can I find out more info about the H-1B Visa? For more info about the H-1B Visa, please visit the following page on our website: H1B Visa Lawyer.


Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2015 (FY 2016)

July 14, 2015

On July 14, 2015, USCIS announced that they had returned all petitions not selected in the lottery.

May 4, 2015

On May 4, 2015, USCIS announced that data entry for selected H-1B petitions has been completed.

April 14, 2015

On April 14, 2015, USCIS announced that premium processing for cap subject petitions will start on April 27th.

April 13, 2015

On April 13, 2015, USCIS announced that they had received 233,000 petitions and that the lottery has been completed.

April 7, 2015

On April 7, 2015, USCIS announced that they had reached the cap for Fiscal Year 2016.

April 6, 2015

On April 6, 2015, USCIS announced guidelines for filing a second petition if you believed that there may have been a delivery service error/delay.

March 12, 2015

On March 12, 2015, USCIS announced that they would accept cases beginning April 1st and that they would begin processing cases filed via premium processing no later than May 11th.

Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2014 (FY 2015)

May 2, 2014

On May 2, 2014, USCIS announced that they have completed the data entry process for all H-1B cap subject cases and they will start to return cases that were not selected through the lottery.

April 17, 2014

On April 17, 2014, USCIS confirmed that they will begin premium processing for H-1Bs filed via premium processing on April 28th, as suggested in their earlier announcement from March 25th.

April 7, 2014

On April 7, 2014, USCIS announced that they received 172,500 H-1B petitions, which is more than enough to reach the statutory cap amounts for both the regular cap and masters cap and that they will be conducting a lottery to determine which petitions get selected for review.

March 25, 2014

On March 25, 2014, USCIS announced that they would begin reviewing cases filed via premium processing no later than April 28th.

Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2013 (FY 2014)

May 15, 2013

On May 15, 2013, USCIS announced that as of Friday, May 10, 2013, all data entry for H-1B FY 2014 cap cases was completed and all receipt notices have been sent. USCIS indicated that rejection notices will start to be sent out and should arrive through the end of May.

April 8, 2013

On April 8, 2013, USCIS announced that they received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions from April 1 through April 5, including petitions filed for the United States masters cap, and on April 7, they conducted a computer-generated random selection process (lottery) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the United States masters cap. Any petitions not selected, will be returned with the filing fees.

April 5, 2013

On April 5, 2013, USCIS announced that they received sufficient H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap amounts for both the regular cap and masters cap. They further announced that they will be conducting a lottery to determine which applications have a shot at cap.

March 15, 2013

On March 15, 2013, USCIS announced that based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, they anticipate possibly receiving more petitions than are available under the cap between April 1st and 5th.

Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2012 (FY 2013)

June 12, 2012

On June 12, 2012, USCIS announced that the FY 2013 H1B cap has been filled as of June 11, 2012. USCIS will reject any applications received after June 11, 2012.

June 1, 2012

As of June 1, 2012, approximately 55,600 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 18,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 25, 2012

As of May 25, 2012, approximately 48,400 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 17,500 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 18, 2012

As of May 18, 2012, approximately 42,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 16,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 11, 2012

As of May 11, 2012, approximately 36,700 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 14,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 4, 2012

As of May 4, 2012, approximately 32,500 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 13,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 27, 2012

As of April 27, 2012, approximately 29,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 12,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 20, 2012

As of April 20, 2012, approximately 25,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 10,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 13, 2012

As of April 13, 2012, approximately 20,600 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 9,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 9, 2012

As of April 9, 2012, approximately 17,400 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 8,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2011 (FY 2012)

November 23, 2011

USCIS announces that the annual limit for H-1B filings was reached as of 11/22/11. Any cap-subject applications received after that date will be rejected.

November 18, 2011

As of November 18, 2011, approximately 61,800 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 14, 2011

As of November 14, 2011, approximately 56,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 2, 2011

As of November 2, 2011, approximately 50,800 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 28, 2011

As of October 28, 2011, approximately 49,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 21, 2011

As of October 21, 2011, approximately 46,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 14, 2011

As of October 14, 2011, approximately 43,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 19,600 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 7, 2011

As of October 7, 2011, approximately 41,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 19,100 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 23, 2011

As of September 23, 2011, approximately 36,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 17,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 9, 2011

As of September 9, 2011, approximately 32,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 16,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 26, 2011

As of August 26, 2011, approximately 29,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 15,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 12, 2011

As of August 12, 2011, approximately 25,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 14,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 29, 2011

As of July 29, 2011, approximately 22,700 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 13,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 22, 2011

As of July 22, 2011, approximately 21,600 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 13,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 15, 2011

As of July 15, 2011, approximately 20,500 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 12,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 1, 2011

As of July 1, 2011, approximately 19,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 12,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 24, 2011

As of June 24, 2011, approximately 17,400 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 11,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 17, 2011

As of June 17, 2011, approximately 16,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 10,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 13, 2011

As of June 13, 2011, approximately 15,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 10,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 1, 2011

As of June 1, 2011, approximately 13,600 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 9,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 26, 2011

As of May 26, 2011, approximately 13,100 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 9,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 20, 2011

As of May 20, 2011, approximately 12,300 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 8,500 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 13, 2011

As of May 13, 2011, approximately 11,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 7,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 29, 2011

As of April 29, 2011, approximately 9,200 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 6,600 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 22, 2011

As of April 22, 2011, approximately 8,000 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 5,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 15, 2011

As of April 15, 2011, approximately 7,100 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 5,100 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 7, 2011

As of April 7, 2011, approximately 5,900 H-1B visa regular cap-subject petitions and 4,500 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

Tracking the H1B Visa Numbers From April 1, 2010 (FY 2011)

January 26, 2011

USCIS announces that they have received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 65,000. They will apply a computer-generated random selection process (aka “lottery”) to all petitions that are subject to the cap and were received on January 26, 2011.

January 21, 2011

As of January 21, 2011, approximately 62,800 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

January 14, 2011

As of January 14, 2011, approximately 60,700 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

January 7, 2011

As of January 7, 2011, approximately 58,700 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

December 31, 2010

As of December 31, 2010, approximately 57,300 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

December 17, 2010

As of December 17, 2010, approximately 53,900 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 19,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

December 10, 2010

As of December 10, 2010, approximately 52,400 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 19,100 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

December 3, 2010

As of December 3, 2010, approximately 51,200 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 18,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 26, 2010

As of November 26, 2010, approximately 50,400 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 18,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 19, 2010

As of November 19, 2010, approximately 48,977 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 17,836 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 12, 2010

As of November 12, 2010, approximately 47,800 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 17,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

November 5, 2010

As of November 5, 2010, approximately 46,800 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 17,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 29, 2010

As of October 29, 2010, approximately 45,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 16,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 22, 2010.

As of October 22, 2010, approximately 44,300 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 16,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 15, 2010

As of October 15, 2010, approximately 42,800 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 15,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 8, 2010

As of October 8, 2010, approximately 41,900 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 15,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

October 1, 2010

As of October 1, 2010, approximately 40,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 14,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 24, 2010

As of Septebmer 24, 2010, approximately 39,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 14,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 17, 2010

As of Septebmer 17, 2010, approximately 38,300 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 14,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 10, 2010

As of Septebmer 10, 2010, approximately 37,400 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 13,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

September 3, 2010

As of Septebmer 3, 2010, approximately 36,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 13,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 27, 2010

As of August 27, 2010, approximately 34,900 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 13,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 20, 2010

As of August 20, 2010, approximately 33,900 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 12,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 13, 2010

As of August 13, 2010, approximately 29,700 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 12,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

August 6, 2010

As of August 6, 2010, approximately 28,500 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 11,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 30, 2010

As of July 30, 2010, approximately 27,300 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 11,600 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 23, 2010

As of July 23, 2010, approximately 26,000 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 11,300 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 16, 2010

As of July 16, 2010, approximately 25,300 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 11,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 9, 2010

As of July 9, 2010, approximately 24,800 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 10,600 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

July 2, 2010

As of July 2, 2010, approximately 24,200 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 10,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 25, 2010

As of June 25, 2010, approximately 23,500 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 10,000 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 18, 2010

As of June 18, 2010, approximately 22,900 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 9,700 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

June 11, 2010

As of June 11, 2010, approximately 22,200 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 9,400 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 21, 2010

As of May 21, 2010, approximately 19,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 8,200 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 14, 2010

As of May 14, 2010, approximately 19,000 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 8,100 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

May 11, 2010

As of May 11, 2010, approximately 18,000 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 7,600 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 27, 2010

As of April 27, 2010, approximately 16,500 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 6,900 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 22, 2010

As of April 22, 2010, approximately 16,025 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 6,739 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

April 15, 2010

As of April 15, 2010, approximately 13,600 H-1B visa cap-subject petitions and 5,800 H-1B visa petitions for aliens with a United States master’s degree were received.

Put our H1B Visa Attorney experience to work for you. Contact us to discuss your case: 212-643-0985, email us or fill out the contact form above.

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