USCIS Releases H-1B Acceptance Dates for FY 2017

On March 16th, 2016, USCIS announced that they will start accepting H-1B petitions for the 2017 Fiscal Year on April 1, 2016. In addition, H-1B premium processing services will begin on May 16, 2016. A mandated cap of 65,000 H-1B petitions and 20,000 H-1B petitions with a U.S master’s degree or higher is in effect. “An advanced degree exemption is available for the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Once that limit is reached, any petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be subject to the regular cap, unless exempt for other reasons.”

However, not all are subjected to the 65,000 annual cap. Of the 65,000 visas available, up to 6,800 visas are reserved for immigrants from Chile and Singapore in accordance to free trade agreements. If any of the 6,800 spots are left over, it will be used for FY 2018. In addition, H-1B workers in the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam are also exempt in accordance with the Consolidated Natural Resource Act of 2008.

As seen in the previous years, it is expected that the H-1B cap will be met within the first five business days of receiving H-1B petitions on April 7th. USCIS will announce when the cap has been reached and will use a randomly generated computer system to select the required amount of petitions. USCIS “will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed.”

To learn more about H-1B’s and the filing procedure, please visit

Zhang & Associates, P.C. has successfully represented many H-1B cases. If you would like to contact us, please email us at Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service and file your case to USCIS no later than Thursday April 7, 2016, the fifth business day of this April. If you already retained another attorney but want to know a second opinion or have further concerns, you are welcome to retain us for fee-based consultation or quality control services. 

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past nineteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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