H1B Visa 2017 News Updates, Fees , Lottery Predictions, LCA - Processing Times, FAQs.

Last Updated Date : July 8th, 2016

If you were one of the unlucky ones not picked in whopping 233,000 H1B 2016 Lottery Applications , you might be already wondering when is the next H1B season going to start.  Also, some of you may be studying in US and some working abroad and planning to work in US next year. This page will be constantly updated with the latest details and commonly asked questions around the next upcoming H1B Visa fiscal year of 2017 season news and updates.

H1B Visa Cap reached for FY 2017, Lottery Done
 On April 7th, H1B Cap for FY2017 was reached. Lottery was done on April 9th. Read News Summary – Over 236,000 Petitions for FY2017 

When will the H1B visa 2017 season start ? Date ?

Short answer April 1st 2016. Typically, USCIS will start to accept petitions for the next fiscal year starting from April 1st of the previous fiscal year. USCIS fiscal year is from October 1st to September 30th. So, for H1B quota of fiscal year 2017, which starts from October 1st, 2017, USCIS would typically accept applications from April 1st, 2016.  The H1B Visa 2016 season started on April 1st of 2015.  Also, in the H1B Rejected Notices of 2016, USCIS mentioned that, the non-selected candidates can file H1B petitions for FY 2017 on or after April 1st, 2016.

USCIS announced on March 16th, 2016 that they will accept FY 2017 petitions from April 1st, 2016. Read Summary of USCIS press release FY 2017 .
Also, we have written an article summarizing on What to expect in H1B FY 2017 Season 

What is H1B 2017 Cap ? What are the H1B 2017 Quota numbers ? Regular vs Masters ?
If you new to H1B, I suggest you read All about H1B Visa Cap- Regular vs Masters. In simple terms H1B cap is a congressional mandated maximum number of petitions that USCIS can accept in a year.  As of now, below are the H1B cap number for fiscal year 2017.  The below numbers are confirmed in press release by USCIS on Mar 16, 2016.

  • Regular H1B Quota : 65,000
  • H1B Master’s Degree Quota ( only US Master 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.

There have been many discussions around change in H1B cap numbers by Obama administration since 2013. The planned proposal was to increase the regular quota cap to 110,000 and Masters quota to 25,000.  No changes for FY 2017, the above numbers of 65,000 and 20,000 are officially confirmed by USCIS in their press release.

What is H1B Visa 2017 Prediction? Will there be Lottery again for FY 2017

Update :  USCIS Updated on April 12th, 2016 that they have received over 236,000 petitions for FY 2017 quota and the lottery was completed on April 9th.

Looking at the past trend of H1B season in the past three years, we could very likely have lottery for FY 2017. Last year for FY 2016 quota, there were 233,000 applications. We have done a detail analysis with the H4 Visa EAD rule in place considering the economy, students graduating, OPT news, etc.  You should read  article H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Prediction News, results, Date .

If H1B lottery, will there be any preference in lottery for Large companies ? Premium Processing 
Well, no preference for anyone, all are treated equally, including premium processing. There are many such misconceptions about lottery process, we have compiled a list of such myths and criteria, you should read Myths of H1B Lottery, Criteria

When to plan for H1B visa 2017 Application ? How soon ? What should be the strategy ?
It is never too late to start planning for your H1B 2017 season. If you plan to work in US on H1B visa in the next coming fiscal year, below are some suggestions based on your situation.

  • F1 Student in USA : If you are studying on F1 visa and about to graduate in next one year, you should seriously look at finding an internship or co-op at companies that can sponsor your H1B visa. You can search for H1B Sponsors in a particular area using our H1B Sponsors Search Tool and try to get an internship to work there on CPT or OPT after you graduate. This is a strategic move and will require sometime, so plan well.
  • Professional from outside USA : If you are a working professional outside US, planning to work in US on H1B, your best bet is to find Multinational companies that have major US presence and secure a job there, so that you can position internally for applying to H1B visa, when the season starts. This is a very strategic decision, you need to carefully assess your options, speak to the company if such options exist and then only choose it.
  • Other H4, L1 Visas : If you are on these visas, your best bet is to find companies just like I mentioned for F1 students that sponsor H1B visas and start interviewing and keeping the conversation going so that you can ask them to file H1B when the season starts.

We have put together a Step by Step Plan on How to apply for H1B 2017 Quota

How do I find a H1B Visa Sponsor – The most asked million dollar question ?
If you are student in the US, it is very straight forward, you find the list of H1B Sponsoring companies using the tool in an area as I mentioned above and get an internship in one of them so that they can sponsor your H1B visa.   Unlike, if you are coming from outside US, it can be tricky.  If you work for an Multinational company ( MNC), then they will have some internal process to pick the candidates and then process H1B visa for them…The other option that has been used and abused is the consulting companies route…Many a times, the H1B aspirants approach a body shop IT consulting company to file H1B for them and they apply for the same. It gets nasty with the body shop consulting companies.  The comments on this H1B Companies Reviews article are quite eye opening. I advise, you beware of the consulting companies and avoid fraud.  Also, WE as RedBus2US do NOT provide any guidance or assistance or sponsor anything. If someone claims that, it is pure fraud and they are trying to trick you, we are not responsible for that. Please be careful. Anyways, for various other options , You may read article How to find H1B 2017 Sponsors

What is the H1B visa 2017 filing fee ? Is it same or any changes ?
It changed slightly this year with the Omnibus Bill passed in December 2015, that will increase the H1B filing fee by $4000 for FY 2017, until 2025 for certain companies that have over 50 employees and have more than 50% of their employees as H1B or L1 visa holders in USA.  Check USCIS Guidelines on H1B Fee increase. Depending on the size of the company, the H1B filing fee can vary anywhere from $1,600 USD to $7,400 USD + Attorney Fee. There are various fees components that make up this number range, for more details Read Summary of H1B Filing Fee 2017 – Who pays for What ? . Below is a high level summary. Also, one key change is that,  there was $2000 USD additional filing fee as per Public Law 111-230, this law expired on Sep 30, 2015 and that is not included anymore.

H1B Fee Component Fee in USD
 Base filing fee $325
AICWA Fee $750  or $1,500
Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable) $4000
Premium processing fee (Optional) $1,225
Immigration Attorney Fee Varies from $500 to $3000

What about Comprehensive Immigration Reform(CIR) and Obama Executive Actions for H1B 2017 Quota Increase ? 
There has been many articles and discussions since 2013 around immigration reform by President Obama and changes around and some like below have been discussed in the last couple of years, nothing moved significantly.

  • 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  ( Part of this came up as the fee increase in Omnibus Bill )
  • Additional H1B rules to avoid H1B Visa fraud by employers
  • Mandatory LCA posting for 30 days before it is certified.

The current status on all of the above are basically “No updates”,  there are no set deadlines for any of them and none of these are happening for FY 2017. You may read Summary of CIR Changes to H1B . Officially as per press release on March 16, 2016, the H1B cap is confirmed to be 65,000 for regular and 20,000 for masters…hence, no changes.

What is LCA for H1B Visa ? Processing times ?
LCA is a form that has to be filed with US Dept of Labor and get it certified before filing H1B petition with USCIS. It has to be sent along with H1B Package to USCIS.  It has all the relevant information about the job position like wage, location, title, etc. It takes about 7 working days for processing of the LCA by US Dept of Labor (DOL). You can read complete details at Why is LCA Needed for H1B – Processing Time, Salary 

H1B Visa 2017 Premium Processing Time :

USCIS Updated in their original press release on March 16, 2016 that the premium processing will begin no later than May 16, 2016.  But, on April 22nd, they updated that the premium processing for FY 2017 will begin on May 12th, 2016. What it means is that the official 15 calendar day SLA for premium processing petitions will be starting from 12th.  USCIS may process the petitions early as well, but officially their clock starts on that day.

H1B 2017 Case Tracker  :
Did you apply for FY 2017 ?  We have put together a tracker along with good graphs for analysis. It is completely anonymous as we do not capture your case number or any personal information. It is community contributed data, the more you add, the better for everyone, including  You !

Track your H1B Case

Anonymously Track your H1B Case - Share and Get updated from Community.

Most Recent News of FY 2017 H1B
Below is the most recent news regarding H1B 2017 season. You can check the updates page as indicated below for the full history and details.

  • July 8th, 2016 ( Official ) : USCIS released a press note today indicating that they have completed returning all the petitions that were not selected in the H1B lottery for FY 2017. Read More details here 
  • May 2nd, 2016 ( Official Update ) : USCIS updated that data entry is complete for selected petitions in lottery. if you were selected, you should receive receipt notices in 2 to three weeks. If not, the chances are very slim to get selected. You should look at your plan B.  Read H1B Data Entry Complete Article for full details
  • April 22nd, 2016 : (Official Update) USCIS Updated that they will start premium processing from May 12th, instead of May 16th.
  • April 12th, 2016 – 6:30 PM EST : Official Update :  USCIS released a press note that H1B lottery was completed on April 9th and they received over 236,000 petitions for FY 2017 quota. Read Press Release Summary  
  • April 12th, 2016 – 11:50 AM CST ( Unofficial Update ) : It is reported on blog by attorney ( immigrationgirl ) that they have received about 40 email receipts of Premium Processing. What it means is that USCIS has already conducted lottery. We will keep you posted with updates. If I am not wrong, they are just drafting the press release now.

H1B 2017 - Latest News Updates

Most recent and complete history of all latest breaking news updates from Official sources like USCIS and Unofficial sources for FY 2017 Season.

When is the next H1B Season ?

The next H1B season starts on April 1st, 2017.  Wondering about your next chance for H1B and various details about the next H1B season, check out H1B Visa 2018 FAQs

Sample H1B Reject Notices for FY 2017 ?

USCIS has started to mail out the reject notices for FY 2017 petitions that were not picked in lottery. It says that the start date for next year H1B season is April 1, 2017. You can check out the Sample Reject Notice for FY 2017, Details

We have many more FAQs around H1B Visa 2017. We will continue to keep updating the page with latest news and updates regarding FY 2017. Bookmark this page and keep checking for updates.

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Comments ( 22,639 )

  1. Relaxex

    Has anyone travelled or does anyone know folks who have travelled to US in the last 2 weeks?Heard companies are avoiding sending resources to onsite at the moment and also there are few cases where people have been turned back after arriving even with a valid visa.

  2. Bhuvan

    Hey Guys,

    I know it is annoying while others are progressing on their cases like approved, went for stamping, RFE responded, even at-least RFE received etc. and disappointing if status on Denial or dead stopped at still Received state ; But never mind, this is not your life changer , this is just a option on exploring USA option.
    If USCIS was given instruction for denial of some percentage then we can’t help it irrespective of your profile, skills, company backgrounds, And you should not under estimate your skills/profiles. We just have to accept it.
    We gotta do lots more things in this life. Just plan other things parallel while waiting for Approval.
    But dont forget to enjoy your present life.
    What you say? Enjoy.

  3. H1BTransfer

    Hi Saurabh,
    My H1B is approved(only for 1 year) and it is filed by one of the Huge IT companies in INDIA. I have not yet appeared for stamping.
    As you know, most of these big IT companies have freezed their onsites and they want to reduce the dependency of H1B.
    Meanwhile, Can i get this approved Petition transferred to some other employer? Do you see any risk at this point of time.

    1. Bhuvan

      Dont worry buddy, there are lot more things to do in this life ! Just keep going, Cherrish old good moments and enjoy upcoming life ,
      Take care.

  4. WantedH1b

    My Interview experience in Hyderabad Office on 23rd
    9:40 AM : Reached US Consulate, Security at entrance verified my passport and label pasted previous day at OFC center.
    9:45 AM : Entered into campus. Security personnel asked me to empty my pockets and keep my belongings in a tray.
    9:50 AM: Entered into scanning room with tray. Passed on the tray to scanner and collected from other side. After coming out of the room arranged my belongings.
    9:55 AM : I was asked to sit in the lobby and keep I-797B, passport, DS-160 confirmation in hand. A person gave me US rights booklet and asked me to stand in queue.
    10:05 AM : When I was standing in queue a security lady collected passport from everyone in the queue. When my turn came I was asked to place my left hand fingers for scanning. Security gave me the passport and directed me to another queue.
    10: 15 AM: It took a while in the queue, at the other end of queue a security person gave me card contains a counter number. Based on the number I stood in front of the counter behind yellow line as interview is going on for another person.
    10:20 AM: MY turn came security person asked my passport and passed on to the VO.
    VO: Who is your petitioner?
    Me: XXXXX Company.
    VO: How long you are with this company?
    Me: it’s a new opportunity.
    VO: Do you have client?
    Me: Yes.
    VO: what is the name of the client?
    Me: XYZ Company
    VO: Who is your current employer?
    Me: XYZ Company
    VO : How long you are with this company?
    Me: X years
    VO: Earlier to this in which company you worked?
    Me: XYZ Company.
    VO: To which place in US you are travelling?
    Me: XYZ city.
    VO: What is your salary?
    Me: XXX $
    VO : OK, I am issuing your visa.
    Me: Thank you.

    No documents were asked.

    10: 40 AM: I am out of the campus.

    all the best

  5. 221g

    Hi guys..

    Thanks for ur support.

    How much days will it take for approval if it’s a 221g blue slip only for employer tax returns ?


  6. Vijay

    I have my visa interview scheduled in 2 weeks time.
    I found i797 has a typo in my name……will it create a problem?
    How to proceed now?

  7. RedBus2USUser

    Hello Everyone,

    Today I see my status on CEA website is changed to:
    U.S. Department of State
    Application ID or Case Number: XXXXXXXXXX
    Case Created: XXXXX
    Case Last Updated: XXXXXX

    Your visa is in final processing. If you have not received it in more than 10 working days, please see the webpage for contact information of the embassy or consulate where you submitted your application.
    For more information, please visit U.S. Consulate General Chennai.

    What does that means?

      1. RedBus2USUser

        thanks for an awesome reply. This means you are very deep depression and also jealous about others progress. Please try to stabilize you mindset my dear ABC. i will pray for you….

  8. Filling DS 160

    For filling the DS-160 form what all documents is required. I have a soft copy of i797 form is that sufficient ? Is I-129 form mandatory?

    1. Choosing different consulate ...

      Even i have also same doubt.. do we need I-129 and LCA also to book visa appointment along with this i have another query

      I have query on choosing visa appointment at consulate .. In my Approval notice consulate was mentioned as a Hyderabad..

      So i would like to go ahead with Chennai consulate . is it gives any problem because hyderabad was mentioned in I-797 B form ..

      Could any one throw some light on this .. is it fine to go ahead with other..

    2. administrator

      Read Docs for Filling DS-160 . Usually, you will need to carry LCA and I-797 approval notice for visa stamping. I-129 is the application from the employer would have filed with USCIS. It is not really mandatory document as it is employer document. But, if you can get a copy for your reference, it will be great to carry that as well.

  9. Oneh1guy

    HI All,

    My visa experience CHennai Consulate Friday 830am

    VO was little serious. She didnt wish Good Morning. asked about my current employer , future employer(it was a new opportunity) and it was a inhouse project . Then she asked me to submit all of the docs used to file the h1b visa. i gave i129, LCA, i797B, frm28, passport , project description and market analysis, marksheets , univ degree certificate. i was asked to wait in the lobby for 2 hours . later she called and issued a 221g blue slip and asking the employers federal tax papers ,returned my passport and documents and told don’t want to re-appear again for interview.

    Now my doubt is how many days will it take for the processing? 45 or 60 days. If i have the doc ready from my employer , after i submitted .will they ask me to drop my passport for approval? How will be further . Any help ?

      1. Oneh1guy

        Yes she asked my role , petitioner name .. she didn’t ask the project desc , she asked for document . Not sure that she got all answers ..

        1. Raj

          Oh.. Okay, better talk to ur employer and send the docs ASAP. Can you please send me an email to discuss further abt it.
          [email protected]

    1. Mahesh

      For Hyderabad and Chennai consulate it is taking 4-6 weeks as per current trend and for consulates it is 2-4 weeks.
      Mine was issued 221 (g) white slip and i have submitted relevant docs on Jan 20 but no response yet.

      1. Oneh1guy

        Hi Kumar ,,

        Thanks for the reply . I checked the tracker . I saw some cases still pending for more than 100 days . My doubt is that they have not updated even after visa approved .

        Also doubt is whether if all documents are clear except few they asked in the 221g form , still after receiving the necessary documents they send the documents for fraud check or other departments so that processing time goes long .?


        1. administrator

          Well, it is always upto to the discretion of the visa officer and there may be longer checks on fraud, etc..hard to say…no defined timeline.

  10. Query regarding amendment rasied due to reduction in salary

    My Visa was approved by USCIS ,then my company created an internal assignment for stamping purpose and reduced the salary then what was mentioned in the earlier LCA, so now new LCA is created.

    My question is will this new assignment/amendment will again go through the whole USCIS process and ,are there chances of getting rejected as reading so many comments here that applications are getting rejected off late.

  11. Waiting_Big_MNC_though

    We can also guess that USCIS might be looking at way to downsize Number of Approved people count, Like Approving H4 (dependents of H1B), Pre-Approved L1B holders etc. So that you can reduce number of people have VISA whereas Approval counts still counts on, Just a guess !

  12. Waiting_Big_MNC_though

    This is very clear that USCIS is deliberately Denying so many cases off late for these last few weeks,
    Earlier success rate was Almost 80% wheras now it is just 20%.

    So those whose cases got handled earlier were lucky, Expecting people have to go through this very suffocating path forward !
    What you say?

  13. Choosing different consulate ...

    I have query on choosing visa appointment at consulate .. In my Approval notice consulate was mentioned as a Hyderabad..

    So i would like to go ahead with Chennai consulate . is it gives any problem because hyderabad was mentioned in I-797 B form ..

    Could any one throw some light on this .. is it fine to go ahead with other..

    Admins could you please give any type of suggestion this

    1. Raj

      Hey.. I am from Chennai and planning to book slot. Can you please email me to discuss –

      [email protected]

  14. Notice Explaining USCIS' Actions Was Mailed

    My case status changed to “Notice Explaining USCIS’ Actions Was Mailed” what does this status means.

      1. Notice explaining uscis action was mailed

        Thanks for the reply. Generally rfe means the status will also be rfe this status looks different.attorney has not received the letter still not sure what it’s going to be some people say it’s one step before denial but I am wondering whether they will require some documents prior to denial.

  15. help_need_ds_160

    Hi Kumar\experts

    when i am filling DS-160 there was info below need to fill.My Question is under “where Do you intend to Work”? here what info i need to fill is this my pitioner information or client information?please help me ASAP

    Application Receipt/Petition Number: EAC16
    Name of Person/Company who Filed Petition: TECHNOLOGIES INC
    Where Do You Intend to Work?
    Name of Employer:
    Street Address:
    Phone Number:
    Monthly Income (in USD):


    Hi Guys,

    Any one directly called USCIS Cust Care and asked on status on “Case Was Received”?
    When I called they say only either Petitioner or Employer can get status details, So I couldn’t get any details.

    If anyone got chance to talk to Cust Care, Could you share the details?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Ram

      Only petitioner or Employer is the one who can raise the query. We are a beneficiary of the Visa, so we cant contact them directly. Ask your company or attorney to raise service request or call customer care.

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