It’s never too early to begin preparing for H-1B cap filings! This alert is a reminder of the April 1, 2016 deadline for the filing of H-1B visa petitions for Fiscal Year 2017. Petitions for the new fiscal year, which will be effective starting on or after October 1, 2016, will be accepted by the government beginning April 1, 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to accept new H-1B petitions after April 1, 2016, but only until the H-1B cap is reached. 

As soon as possible, we encourage you to identify any employees who may require H-1Bsponsorship. This year we again expect the cap to be reached the first week of April. Once theH-1B cap has been reached, employers will be unable to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions until April 1, 2017 for start dates of October 1, 2017.

Congress has placed a numerical cap on H-1B visas. For FY 2017, the limit is 65,000cap-subject H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 visas available for individuals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. educational institution. As in previous years, we expect the H-1B cap to be reached within the first week. We therefore advise employers to make H-1B sponsorship decisions as early as possible. It is important to prepare H-1B petitions as early as possible and well before April 1st so that a complete petition can be submitted to USCIS on the first day that the quota opens.