U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2011 (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011). USCIS notified the public that January 26, 2011 is the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2011.

H-1B petitions for FY 2012 (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2012) will be accepted starting on April 1, 2011. Therefore, if you have potential hires that missed out on an H-1B number this year, we can still file their H-1B petition on April 1 for an October 1, 2011 start date. Please keep in mind that if you file an H-1B change of status petition on April 1 for an F-1 student in optional practical training, the beneficiary’s F-1 status and employment authorization will be automatically extended until October 1, 2011, so that there will be no gap in their employment (assuming the petition is approved). Also, if a person has already been counted toward the H-1B cap in the past six years, or will be working for a university or affiliated non-profit, they do not require a new H-1B number and we do not need to wait until April 1 to file an H-1B petition.