United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2016 beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2015. The H-1B visa program allows US businesses to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in science, engineering, and computer programming fields.
The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individual workers who have a master’s degree from an accredited US university are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap of 65,000 petitions. The USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received, and once the H-1B cap is met, USCIS will notify the public.
USCIS is expecting to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap allows during the first five business days of this year’s program. If USCIS receives a number of petitions that exceeds the limit, a lottery system will be used to randomly select the number of petitions the cap allows. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap and will not select them through the lottery. All petitions received after the cap has closed will also be rejected.
H-1B Premium Processing
Anyone petitioning for an H-1B visa may still request premium processing with his H-1B petition. USCIS temporarily adjusted the premium processing practice based on historic premium processing receipt levels that predict the possibility of the H-1B cap being met in the first five business days. USCIS will start premium processing for H-1B cap subject petitions that request premium processing until May 11, 2015 in order to prioritize data entry for H-1B cap subjected petitions.
Filing H-1B Visa Petitions
For any petitioner who is a temporary employee or trainee, the state in which his company or primary office of organization is located will notify him of the appropriate Service Center to which he should send the Form I-129 package.
Petitioners must make sure that the address written on Page 1, Part 1 of Form I-129 is that of the organization’s primary office. When the petitioner is registering a home office as a work site location on Part 5, Question 3, USCIS will consider this as a separate and distinct worksite location.
In order to avoid delays in processing and possible request for evidence, petitioners must follow all statutory and regulatory requirements. USCIS has developed detailed information, including an optional checklist, Form M-735, Optional checklist for Form I-129 H-1B filings, on how to complete and submit an H-1B petition for fiscal year 2016.
For more information on H-1B non-immigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, please visit and subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates on H-1B 2016 Cap Season Webpage or call the national Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 or 800-375-1833.