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

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 FY 2017 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 ComponentFee 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 FeeVaries 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 ( 23,251 )

  1. Painful denial

    Hi H1b_2017 Finally Approved,

    As you posted previously as below
    “Finally got approval on my petition from last year. Waited for exactly 1 year and 23 days for this. Got selected in lottery in May last year. Petition got rejected in August. Filed Motion to Reopen in September. Finally got approval on 24th April this year after multiple followups.”

    Iam the second person asking you to let us know the reason why your visa got denied initially. This would help us having some hope at least.

    It’s really a horrible pain for visa getting denied after 15 months of long wait and Iam still very very depressed and in a bad mood for the past 2 days despite weekend can’t able to concentrate on anything.

  2. My Application denied

    Decision Notice Mailed
    On April 28, 2017, we denied your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Receipt Number EAC**********. We mailed you a decision notice that explains why we denied your case and your options. Please follow the instructions in the notice. If you do not receive your denial notice by May 13, 2***, please go to www.uscis.gov/e-request to request a copy of the notice. If you move, go to www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address.

    Are there any chance of getting approved after challenging their decision that too in non-premium.

      1. Denied

        2016, saurabh pls throw some light on this. Waited for 1 year 2 months to hear this bad news. And employer said all from 2016 got approved and placed in jobs but I’m not sure why they gave me this shock this today. Got severe rfe and then rfe previously and once responded to them and finally ended with this .

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Denied,

          Once the denial decision is received by employer, you can discuss w/ them if you guys want to appeal or file MTR. Other than that, the only other option is to reapply next cap.

        2. Ram

          Hi Application Denied,
          We can’t apply for cap exempt. The petition has to be approved first to file for cap-exempt. If you don’t file for MTR, this is the final decision.

  3. GC over H1b

    Hello Saurabh and experts..

    While hoping for the best, there are some news like the exemplars in the US mostly prefer GC holders instead of H1b.

    How far it is true? Any thought please?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      GC over H1b,

      I think the correct question should be non-H1B over H-1B. The former would include both GC holders and citizens.

      I don’t have any data points for this, but I can think of possible reasons why this may be happening (if it is happening):
      1. PP is suspended. If the employer prefers to have an approved H-1 before onboarding the candidate, then H-1B are not preferred.
      2. If the candidate needs a cap-subject H-1, then with so much uncertainty around lottery, H-1Bs are not preferred.
      3. There is a general uncertainty about H-1B with the new administration

      Having said that, I know people who have recently found jobs with top tier companies while being on H-1B.

  4. H4 Travel

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am planning to travel on H4, when my wife’s current H1b expiry date is 1.5 months ahead.

    At the time of my travels, Her H1b extension process will be in progress.

    Will there be any problem in my travel at POE?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      H4 Travel,

      Should not be an issue. Keep a copy of her H-1 extension receipt. If asked, tell PoE that her extension is pending and your H-4 extension will be filed soon.

      Remember to apply for your H-4 extension soon after landing.

  5. Shree

    Hello Saurabh, Experts
    I have filed H1B extension on March 6th 2017 in WAC. I have previously travelled for a year on H1B. The extension is for same employer & client.
    On April 27th USCIS issued RFE. What are the chances of getting through? What are the evidences they generally look out for. How long does USCIS take to provide decision after submitting of RFE doc. I am in India currently.

    1. Ram

      Hi Shree,
      If you/Attorney provide the right documentation as RFE response,then no worries. It will go through. RFE might be(I am not sure) regarding the SOW and more about the project. You can get to know the details, once your attorney receives the RFE notice from USCIS. If you have filed in normal processing, from the date you have submitted the response for it, it might take 4-5 months. You generally have 3 months time to respond to the RFE. Good luck!

  6. SAM

    There are AD people who paid 5000 USD to get a visa , through a desi consultancy. USD 2500 on filing and rest on stamping ! Just to insure themselves they put it through their employer (Free) and through a desi consultancy (%k USD) . BOTH PETITIONS have been picked and therefore it scrw up others chances as one seat is wasted . I know of at least 3 cases of such paid petitions which were done as a backup. They said its simple probability so cant take chances with one . They said they have spent 40k to do masters why not spend another 5- 7 K to ensure a H1b . what do you guys think of such situations ? I personally think multiple petitions shd be banned and desi consultancies should be weeded out !

  7. RD

    I’ve applied under the same employer for 2 years and this is my third and last time. Haven’t heard anything yet. I’m so stressed and hope something can arrive soon!
    BTW, if I get a promotion now before the lottery result comes out, will this affect the application?

    Thanks!!!

  8. Vasu

    Hi,

    I am on L1, my H1B case is in RFC received status. Now my current client offered me full time position if I have H1B approved.
    My question is can my client apply for visa transfer while it is still in process, will there be any issues.

  9. soumya

    Does any one having any clue about U.S travel freeze in CTS ?
    Whats this all about ?

    Saurabh , i am done with H1 stamping in dec 2016 ,still waiting for project .
    Is there any conditions like we have to travel at least once with in 6 months or 1 year span of time to make sure case is valid till expiry date?
    Can you please provide your inputs. Thankyou.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      soumya,

      You can travel to US on H-1B anytime during the petition/visa validity period. If it is about to expire or has already expired, a cap-exempt petition (same or different employer) needs to be applied to get an extended petition.

      1. soumya

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks a lot for your quick response.
        Can you please also provide any inputs or already written URL to understand Procedure to shift the company here in offshore it self by transferring my currently valid H1 visa .

        1. Ram

          You just have to find an employer who can file cap exempt H1B/Transfer for you. Initiate the transfer and once its approved, u can travel with the same stamping,if its not expired at the time travel. Note that premium processing for H1B has been suspended currently, hence transfer might take 6-8 months

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