Late on Thursday, 27 January, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 H-1B cap has been reached as of 26 January 2011 (both for the "master's" and "regular" quotas under the cap). As such, the USCIS is no longer accepting new filings that are subject to the FY2011 cap. New H-1B visas will become available as of 1 October 2011 (under the FY2012 cap) and filings under that cap can be made as early as 1 April 2011 (i.e., employers can file on 1 April, seeking 1 October as the effective start date for the H-1B petition approval).

Please note that foreign students currently in F-1 status with optional practical training (OPT) authorization that remains valid beyond 1 April, may still obtain an extension of their stay even if their current OPT authorization will expire before 1 October 2011. If an individual is currently in F-1 OPT status and was unable to obtain H-1B status under the FY2011 cap, we can assess whether regulatory authority known as the "cap gap" rule would benefit the individual involved.