Updated : November 25th, 2015

H1B Visa 2016 Filing Season Complete, Cap reached on April 7th, 2015.

Planning for next H1B season, Check out H1B Visa 2017 FAQs

As many of you know, H1B Visa 2015 quota was over in the first week and a whopping 172,500 H1B petitions were received in first week by USCIS.  H1B Lottery / random selection was held by USCIS to select 85,000 H1B petitions to fulfil the work permit cap. Many of the unlucky ones are already wondering about next year H1B Visa quota. Also, some of you are planning for H1B visa for next year, you also would be wondering regarding the same. This article addresses many of the common questions, it will be updated constantly, whenever any changes to info.  Bookmark this page !  To start with, firstly the news updates on this season, followed by many commonly asked questions.

Official & Unofficial USCIS News Updates Regarding H1B 2016 Season 

When will the H1B season for fiscal 2016 begin ?

USCIS will accept petitions for H1B Visa 2016 season starting from April 1st, 2015.  USCIS did a press release on March 12th outlining the details. Read summary of press release by USCIS on H1B 2016 .

Will there be lottery again for H1B Visa 2016 ? Predictions ?

We had lottery for FY 2015 and FY 2014. The total number of petitions filed for FY 14 were about 125,000 and for  FY 2015, there were about 172,500 petitions… As H1B Quota did not increase for FY 2016, and the demand does not seem to decrease, we would very likely have lottery for FY 2016.  Read H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Predictions, Dates, Results

What is the H1B Visa quota Cap Count ? Would there be any changes to H1B 2016 count ?

H1B Visa quota cap count is the total number of petitions that USCIS will accept for a fiscal year to provide temporary work permit for highly skilled workers.  For the 2016 fiscal year, the cap count is as below :

  • Regular H1B Quota : 65,000
  • H1B Masters Degree Quota ( only US Degrees) : 20,000
  • Out of the above, a total of 6,800 is usually set aside for Singapore and Chile citizens as part of the free trade agreement between them.

As per the press release in March 2015, the quota did not increase.  To give some background, as per the Obama executive action in Nov 2014, no changes were announced to the H1B Cap count. There was proposal in 2013 to increase H1B cap from 65,000 to 110,000 and Masters quota to increase from 20,000 to 25,000 did not go through as of March 2015. At least, for this FY 2016 season, the quota is fixed and it will be as above and no changes.

When should I start planning for H1B Visa 2016 ? What are the steps ?

It depends on your situation. Below are few scenarios and your plan.

  • If you are a student on F1 Visa in USA, you need to plan for your internship/ CPT or OPT employment  at a company that can sponsor your H1B Visa for FY 2016. In my view, you should start now to find something for the fall 2014 and continue that for next spring so that you can file for FY 2016
  • If you are in other country and planning for H1B, it is good to start your process around the end of this year 2014. It will give you enough time to find sponsors, search for job, etc.
  • If you are on H4, L1 or other visa in USA and planning for H1B for FY 2016, you also should consider looking around end of this year i.e. December 2014.

We have published step by step plan, you can read the article How to plan for H1B Visa 2016 ?Step by Step Guide 

Most asked Question – How do I Find H1B Sponsors for FY 2016 ?

This is a million dollar question !  One of the biggest challenges is to find a good sponsor that can offer you a job and wait for you to start work after 6 months of filing your petition.  You should review the detail article on How to find H1B Sponsors for FY 2015. Your first place of start is to find the H1B Sponsors in an area or by company. Use our H1B Visa Sponsors Database to search and filter. Read this article on details on how to search in our H1B Sponsor database. We keep the database updated as DOL publishes data. Do NOT share your email or phone number on our website as comments, there are many people do H1B Sponsorship fraud by requesting money using your contact info. RedBus2US.com never provides personal guidance on H1B sponsors or seeks money from anyone, we only display publicly available data on our H1B Sponsors Database page. We DO NOT sponsor H1Bs or guide anyone. Beware of H1B sponsorship Fraud ! 

What about Comprehensive Immigration Reform ( CIR) – H1B Visa Changes ? What are they ?

There have been some proposed changes to the H1B Visa program to cater to the demand in the  US economy as part of the Comprehensive Immigration reform. Below are some of the proposed changes.

  • H1B Cap to be increased from 65,000 to 110,000 per year.  Also have provisions to have it up to 180,000 in case of extreme demand.
  • Advanced degree from US cap quota to increase from 20,000 to 25,000
  • The Filing fee for H1B could go up to 10,000 USD
  • Additional H1B rules to avoid H1B Visa fraud by employers
  • Mandatory LCA posting for 30 days before it is certified.

These were proposed in 2013, but nothing has moved significantly and all the above are just proposed rules. We are not sure when they will be implemented. You can read  Summary of CIR – Immigration reform – H1B Visa and Green Card  to get an idea. The latest update is that Obama has taken executive action on Immigration in Nov  2014  and none of the below are included as part of that.  Stay tuned for updates.

H1B Visa 2016 Fees – Any changes ? How much does it cost ?

There are various components of the fee. The H1B Application filing fee could range anywhere from $1,600 USD to $4,400 depending on the size of the company. The attorney fee can range from $500 to $3000 depending on the attorney. If you apply for premium processing that is another $1,225. The fees has not changed in the past couple of years for FY 2014 and FY 2015. Unless USCIS revises fee based on immigration reform, it should be same. We will keep you all posted. For complete details of the fee by components and break up, read the article H1B Visa  Fees and Who Pays for What ?

H4 Visa EAD rule impact on H1B Visa 2016 Season ?

As you know, certain H4 visa holders are now eligible for EAD. The H4 Visa EAD Rule Passed earlier in 2015 and is effective from May 26, 2015.  USCIS will start accepting applications for EAD from those eligible H4 visa holders starting from May 26th. The question is that will that have an impact on number of H1B petitions for this fiscal year  ?  It very likely will have certain impact on the number of H1B applications that are filed for this year 2016 quota. Many of the H4 holders, who would now be eligible for EAD, may not apply for H1B visa, just because it gives them more flexibility to work and more choices to work as well. We would have to wait and see, how much of an impact that would have, but it is very straightforward and no brainer for eligible H4 visa holder to avoid the H1B processing.

H1B visa Premium Processing Changes to H1B Visa 2016 quota ? 

USCIS updated in their press release that the premium processing will be accepted for FY 2016 quota and they will only begin that “no later than May 11, 2015”. What it means for the petitioners is that the official 15 day premium processing clock starts from May 11th, 2015 and their petition could be adjudicated within 15 days from May 11th, which would be May 26th, 2015.  USCIS can process them earlier as well, but their new timeline is just indication for setting the right expectations to meet the stipulated time frame for premium processing.

Track H1B Visa 2016 Cap Count updates ?

As in previous years, we have created a page, where would track the cap count updates for FY 2016. You may check out  H1B visa 2016 Cap Count Tracker.

While you wait, you can check out April 1st – USCIS H1B Visa 2016 Season Starts Today, When to expect Lottery ?

H1B Lottery Completed – Official Tweet and Press Release 

H1B Cap Reached – Official USCIS Tweet and Link to Press release :


Any other questions ?

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Comments ( 28,590 )

  1. Soumesh

    My H1B case status is changed to

    ‘Notice Explaining USCIS’ Actions Was Mailed

    On Jan XX, 2017, we began reviewing your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Receipt Number WACXXXXXXXXXX. We mailed you a notice informing you of the action we intend to take on your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice and submit any requested materials. If you do not receive your notice by jan XX , 2017, please call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283. If you move, go to www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address.

    Could this be RFE ? Please help me out understanding the meaning.

    Please note ,‘Case Was Received’ was earlier case status .

    Thanks
    Soumesh

  2. VisaIssued

    Hi,

    Finally my visa has been issued and below is the time line :-

    Interview Location :Chennai
    Visa interview Date:- 19th December
    Status:- Admin processing (19th December)
    Status Changed date :- Admin processing (although the date changed to 5 Jan , the status remained the same)
    Status Change :- Issued(6th jan 2017)

    At the time of the interview the VO had said that my visa has been approved , but it took them around 17 days to process it .I work for a CMM level 5 company and people who had appeared with me had got there visa in 5 days .The wait was painfull and i had searched all the over the internet to find out what might have gone wrong .

    To everyone who are waiting for there approval , I hope the above information was usefull . There might be a delay even when you are not handed a 221g slip during interview, but at the end it’s gonna be alright.

    Regards,
    RP

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