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April 1st – H1B 2017 Season Starts – What to Expect ?

Today, April 1st,  is probably the most awaited day for many of the prospective work visa seeking professionals and students, who plan to work in US…If you are filing H1B for the first time, you may be curious to know many things about what to expect in the next few weeks or months…We have written many articles in the past that cover various aspects of H1B visa season. We will try to point to few of the articles that will help you understand on what to expect this 2017 season and pull some information from those articles as needed.

H1 Visa 2017 – FAQs :    If you are already aware of H1B visa process and some details, you do not need to check this…but, many of the newbies would have questions like

  • What is H1B 2017 cap ? Regular vs Masters Quota. ?
  • What is H1B filing Fee ?
  • How would someone find H1B Sponsors ?
  • How about other past immigration reforms ?

Many such common questions are answered already at H1B Visa 2017 FAQs

H1B Predictions:  We have done a detail analysis on macro-economic factors, job situation, unemployment, past history and done detail analysis, you should check out our H1B 2017 Lottery Predictions

How long does the H1B 2017 Season last?

Well, this can be a very tricky question, it totally depends on number of petitions they receive. It can range from 5 days to 10 months or more. The minimum H1B season duration would be for at least 5 business days, starting from April 1st, 2015. So, technically it would be until close of business day of April 7th.  If USCIS receives more than 85,000 petitions during this time, then the season closes and USCIS will conduct a lottery to select those 85,000 petitions to fulfil the H1B cap.   If USCIS does not receive enough petitions, which is 20,000 for US Masters students’ quota and 65,000 for regular quota, then USCIS will continue to accept until the H1B cap count of 85,000 is met. During recession period, the H1B Visa 2011 cap was reached on Jan 26th , technically it lasted for 10 months.  But, as per our H1B Visa 2017 Predictions, we expect a lottery for FY 2017 and cap would be complete by April 7th.

When can we expect formal news and update from USCIS on H1B 2017 season?

Well, as per the history and our past experience, USCIS reports the official news regarding the H1B season petitions, counts, etc. after the first 5 business days.  Last year for H1B Visa 2016 season, USCIS reported their first official H1B cap reached news on April 7th, 2015.  We can expect first official news to be released on the same day, which is April 7th, Thursday for this year.  Also, last year there were some delivery service errors and USCIS issued a news alert providing an option for employers to file a second petition. Hopefully we do not have such issues this year. You may read H1B 2016 Delivery Errors  .  But, always there is some news covered by from AILA and other attorneys regarding the petitions flow around April 3rd, it will not be official USCIS though 😉  …we will monitor the social media and keep our readers posted on the same updates.

When would the lottery be conducted for FY 2017 season? When will we get news ?

Well, this always depends on factors like the number of petitions that USCIS received and how much time they take to sort those out.  Last year, the H1B 2016 Lottery Results were announced on April 13th.  Last year, the lottery was conducted on April 13th and the year before it was April 10th.  So, it would definitely be in the week of April 11th, unless the load is very high.

 What is H1B Lottery ? How does it work  :  Based on the past experiences and guidance from USCIS, we have an article that talks about this. Read How does H1B Lottery or Random Selection Works ?

How about H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Results? When will I know the news and decision on my petition? 
Well, unfortunately, it is a waiting game and there is no specific date for getting your results, unless you file the H1B petitions under premium processing. USCIS process petitions and keep sending receipt numbers and reject notices in their own sequence and there is no information on how they prioritize. You can see the results like receipt number and reject notices coming along, but it is the painful waiting game for everyone filed under regular processing. Last year, USCIS did a news alert indicating that they have returned all the rejected petitions on July 14th. So, you can expect the last date for receiving lottery decision around that…depending on the number of petitions filed this year, it may be earlier or even later in July or even early August.. We will have to wait for USCIS news release on lottery for this final date.

 Who should you contact for your petition related information?

Your employer / immigration attorney is your only option to get information related to your H1B petition.  You cannot really get information from USCIS or any other sources. Your employer / immigration attorney would get receipt number regarding your H1B petitions, which you can use to check on USCIS website. Also, they will get your H1B reject notice, if you were unlucky and did not make it through.

 How do confirm, if my employer has filed H1B petition ?

Well, the only way you can know that your petition is filed is to get some information from your employer or immigration attorney by asking for things like below.

  • You can ask for LCA Copy that was used for your petition
  • You can ask for Fedex or UPS or mail related tracking information
  • You can ask for the copy of the receipt notice, once they receive it.
  • You can ask for the copy of reject notice from USCIS, if they say it did not make it to lottery
  • You can ask for a copy of the application package that was sent to USCIS.

Some employer may share information, some may not. It is entirely up to them and their discretion…you have no way of knowing the truth unless they provide you the information…They do not have any legal commitment to share you that information as it was filed by them. Anyways, most of the employers do share fair amount information…

H1B Visa Filing  Myths :  Many newbies have confusions and misconceptions around the H1B lottery and how it works, including if there are any priorities for bigger companies, etc. We have wrote an article covering the same. Read  H1B Filing , Lottery Selection Myths

How to Track your H1B ?   As there are lot of unknowns, it is good to help each other by having an anonymous open tracking system. We have done this over the last three years and it helps everyone. Please add your case to details at our tracker link below and update the status as you have anything new for everyone to know some high level information. It is good for community, it is completely anonymous.

[alert type=”danger” close=”false” heading=”Track your H1B Case Anonymously”] [button type=”flat” class=”my-btn-red” shape=”square” size=”regular” href=”https://redbus2us.com/trackers/h1b-visa-tracker/” title=”H1B Visa 2017 Tracker”] Click to Add Details at H1B 2017 Tracker [/button]. [/alert]

H1B 2017 Updates : We have created an exclusive page for tracking the updates. You can bookmark this page and get all the updates :  H1B Visa 2017 Cap count updates, News 

Do you have any more questions?  Any thoughts to add? Leave a comment…


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    • Probably last next week. Last year took them 3 days to do initial in-take, 2 days in 2014. This year should be even longer.

  1. USCIS will only release a statement saying that it has reached the cap and filing period is closed.

    It won’t disclose the number of applicants until the lottery is done – which will be early next week.

  2. By the end of 4/6, USCIS has not released any news saying the cap has been reached. Look at the prior 3 years when they released the news:

    4/7/2014 (with an alert on 4/5/2015)

    So if there’s correlation between the number of petitions received and the announcement date, we’re probably looking at a similar number to the last year!

    Sorry I know this is splitting hair, I’m just too nervous now…

  3. When will the Sevis be updated for an F-1 student filing new H-1B and picked? Will it take a week or two? My OPT 17 month ends in october and because of the newly proposed 24 month rule I am eligible to apply for 7 month extension. I should do it on may 10 or may 11. So I would like to ask my School DSO to check for my status and if required I will change my regular case to premium.


    • Sid,

      In the past SEVIS record was updated even before employer was notified about the H-1 petition (regular processing). So that update is pretty quick. If yours was filed under regular processing and if you are selected, then you would know by mid-June/July about it (through SEVIS or through USCIS).

  4. how many people normally they select in lottery.we have total 65k+20k h1b visa available. will it in range of 150kor lesser?

  5. Camilla
    Hello Guys…
    First of all RedBus2US , great forum.
    I didnt make through lottery during 2014 season.
    Now i’m applying this year. I got a FedEx receipt from my Employer. Package is delivered on April 4th.
    And this time package delivered to California Service Center… My 2014 was Vermont Service Center.

    Lets see my luck this year… I wish all the fellow applicants good luck…

    H1 B Fever Started ?

    All the Best.

  6. Any insider/unofficial update regarding the no.of petitions received this year. Also there’s no news so far about fedex delivery errors. Guess the petitions bulk received would be comparitively lesser than last yr. what’s your opinion on this Kumar/Saurabh.

    Thanks a lot for constantly updating the blog. It helps a lot of ppl like me to keep in track of the H1b updates and this will be my 3rd and last attempt on trying my luck with H1b. Good luck to all deserving ppl who have applied this yr.

  7. Kumar,

    Could you please add Denial at Port of Entry as well what to expect during the H1b roller coaster. I think many people are not aware of this facet at all. Also, on occasions people with client letters and genuine jobs have had to return as well but the chances of this happening mostly with Desi consultancy is true.

    • Jhonny,
      We have written an article in the past on POE Checklist for H1B holders, it covers the documents you need to carry. Denial at port of entry happens, when the CBP officer senses fraud in documents or anything else…I will plan to write an article in little more detail on what happens at port of entry and how to be prepared.

  8. If I have the LCA Case number, Can I ask USCIS directly via email for status of my H1B lottery? I doubt on employer delaying the result of lottery even after they come to know about it from USCIS.
    P.S: I have a copy of my LCA.

      • Asus, No offence here. I just said doubt on “delaying the result of lottery to employees” that too because of Some internal politics that I can not describe here. I work for a well reputed employer and have no doubts whatsoever. Thanks!

    • RK,

      Knowing LCA you cannot get information about your petition. In addition, USCIS responds only to employer and their attorneys, not you.

  9. Kumar, I have a question.

    Is that true USCIS will send out email if petition was selected under premium processing? Is that a case number, receipt, or just a notification? Does the email go to individual applicant or employer? Thanks!

  10. Really silly question popped up in my head.. maybe you can help to answer.

    If USCIS does not check individual application before the lottery is finished, what stops the companies for filing 5 or 10 petitions for the same worker and the same job hoping that 1 of them will win the lottery and only then USCIS will study it?

    How USCIS checks if some petitions are duplicated before making the lottery? Maybe from 200.000 initial petitions only 100.000 are legit.

    • Just think if 2 applications get selected out of 5-10 duplicate filings !!!
      The companies will have nightmare explaining the reason and they may get black listed.

      • Maybe not 10, but they can definately try 2 or maybe 3. Plus, you are thinking of big, important companies, but any company can file the appication. So who says there are not small, new companies out there who try to get visas at any cost and dont care if they get black listed? If they get caught they just close the company and open a new one. I would totally try my luck there.

    • And do you think you are so much worth that company can put its credibility at stake just to get you in US !!! I don’t think so unless you are CEO of that company. Hope this make some sense.

      • no need to be a CEO, just imagine a Chinies or Russian community where a company hires people from their own country only to make them visas. I bet those people dont even work in that company. But they may send 3-4 applications on the same person only to get higher chances in the lottery.

        I think this whole lottery process is really not planned correctly from the beginning. Its just my opinion.

    • Multiple petitions can be filed for by same employer to same employee, only thing is they doesn’t return filing fee, If 2 get picked or 10 get picked, except 1 all others will be denied, Thats it…

      No Blacklisting, block etc….

      • USCIS will deny or revoke all petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker if more than one is filing is discovered. If duplicate or multiple petitions are discovered, whether one or more such petitions are approved, USCIS will data enter all those duplicative petitions, retain all fees, and either deny the petitions or, if a petition was approved, revoke the petition. The petitions will not be returned to the petitioner.

    • Good point, few H1bs have returned from USA already this year. So after 1 year wait and the roller coaster of lottery -> RFE -> Approval -> Stamping it leads to denial at port of entry. Absolute worst case scenarios this as the person would have quit his well paying job in India as well.

  11. At one end they are stopping people at airport from entering US and at oneend they are hiking fees for H1b so what exactly we can expect now…

    • shiva,
      Not all people are being stopped from entering, there are thousands of people entering US everyday…Only situations where the CBP officer senses misinterpretation of facts or any issues, they are questioned. These are quite normal everyday, it is just that media attention was missing all these years, it became more this year…

  12. My H1b petition is accepted in 2008. I never go for stamping. Do I need to do another petition for 2017. Or previously accepted petition works?

    • pinal,

      IMO, your cap-exempt time ran out in 2014. Still, if you want to approach an employer and try your luck and go cap-exempt route now.


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