Upcoming H-1B Season Preparing for the FY2017

As our firm has worked with many companies on H-1B visa applications in the past, we would like to remind you that the filing period for “new” H-1B visa petitions for the Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2017 begins on April 1, 2016.  To ensure timely receipt, and to have the best chance of a new case being accepted under the “cap,” petitions should be sent to USCIS on or around March 31, 2016.
The annual limit for new H-1Bs is 65,000 (less 6,800 set aside for citizens/nationals of Chile or Singapore), with an additional 20,000 visas available to H-1B applicants who have obtained  a Master’s or higher degree from a U.S. academic institution. An applicant qualifies for an H-1B under the additional 20,000 allotment if he/she has completed all requirements for the advanced degree at the time the petition is filed.
Last year, the annual FY-2016 limit for new H-1Bs was reached immediately, with USCIS receiving over 230,000 applications during the first week of filing.  We anticipate that the FY-2017 cap may be reached at the same pace and increased rate of filings.  Consequently, we advise clients and employers to plan and process their FY 2017 H-1B petitions early, to start H-1B processing no later than early February 2015, and to ascertain that they file them on or around March 31, 2016. Since an H-1B visa filing requires a certified Labor Condition Application (“LCA”), an online application that takes seven (7) days processing time with DOL, it is advisable to start the preparation of H-1B visas as soon as possible.
Please contact us if you have any questions pertaining to the FY-2017 H-1B petition filing procedures.  Our team will be happy to assist.
Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs