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News: H1B Petitions Accepted from April 1st. Premium May 16

As speculated, for H1B Visa 2017 season, USCIS has officially released a press note earlier today and the confirmed that they will accept petitions for H1B FY 2017 season starting from April 1st, 2016. Below is a quick summary of the USCIS press release.

Summary of USCIS Press Release on H1B FY 2017

  • USCIS will accept H1B petitions for FY 2017 cap starting from April 1st, 2016 for highly specialized knowledge foreign workers of STEM field.
  • The H1B Cap for FY 2017 does not change for this year and is as below
    • Regular Quota : 65,000
    • US Master’s quota : 20,000
  • USCIS expects to receive more petitions for FY 2017 during first 5 business days and they will inform everyone, if cap is met. If they receive more petitions, they will conduct lottery aka computer generated process to randomly pick required petitions to meet cap.
  • USCIS will reject any petitions that are not selected in lottery or the ones received after the cap is closed.
  • Premium Processing Guideline : They mention that premium processing will begin no later than May 16th, 2016. It means that, if your petition is filed under premium the clock of 15 calendar days starts from May 16th.  They may process it earlier as well, but the 15 days SLA for premium processing starts from May 16th, that’s the idea.
    • For FY 16, they said that it would be no later than May 11th ( later moved to April 27th after lottery) and for FY 15 it was April 27th. You can see that the initial forecast of the dates are further pushed for this year by 5 days…it tells us that they are anticipating more petitions. You should read H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Predictions Analysis
  • Guidance on Filing Petitions Locations : They clearly mention that the filing location of the petitions depends on the primary location of the company that is filing the petition. This is important for processing times.
  • The Optional Check list for FY 2017 will be available next week. You can check the FY 16 Optional Check list M-735 form to help H1B filings
  • USCIS will consider applications accepted only when they physically receive the petitions properly filed with appropriate fees and paper work.

Overall, it is no different from previous years and the press release is pretty standard. The key thing to remember is that they are planning for 5 more days for premium processing, what it tell is that they are anticipating over 233,000 petitions.  We will have to wait and see what happens… You may read FY 2016 previous news release

What do you think ? Any guess ?

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  1. What is the chance of getting picked up in lottery this year? As the H1 B visa fee has been increased. will there be an impact on the number of applications?

  2. Hi,
    My petition got approved and H1 has been stamped in Feb’16 till 2018, my query is can i delay my travel to this year end for personal problems. will i have a problem with POE and how can i manage them,is this a common issue with h1 holders?

  3. Then the lottery will be held somewhere, end of April?
    Answer for the lottery picked or not picked, will be notified only after the premium processing set date, am i right?
    Will they communication about the lottery status goes back to employer or both employer and the applicant?

    • Jagadish,
      Yes, last year, it was conducted around April 12th and USCIS updated on 13th in a press note that it was completed. The answer, like if you were selected in lottery or not does not have any fixed time…last year, USCIS announced that all rejected petitions were sent by July 14th…so it may go that long… Communication will always go back to the attorney/ employer. Applicant need to check with employer for details.

      • Thanks Kumar.

        I was thinking that there are 2 steps or 2 kind of updates/responses from USCIS.

        Case 1: If the application is not selected in the lottery, an update that the app is not picked.
        Case 2: If the application is picked, and update that it is picked and whether the petition is approved or rejected, another update whether approved or rejected.

        Am i right?

        From your comments, “USCIS announced that all rejected petitions were sent by July 14th”, means that USCIS updated back to employer only with the status “Picked / NotPicked”?

        • USCIS will work on Picked (the ones which has won the lottery) petitions first,

          They send notification
          — via emails/letters for premium processing petitions ( emails first and letter would be sent later between April 15th – May 15) and
          — via letters for regular processing petitions ( Letter would be sent from May 15th – July mid)

          Later, they start looking into the ones NotPicked petitions and would send the letter of rejection for the petition. ( usually rejection letters are sent during mid of July)

          Every detail would go to the attorney, Employer would know about it from them. Employee’s would know from employer.

          *** all the dates are not accurate, may vary *****

        • ImmigrationBird answered it well. The dates can vary and there is no hard fast rule… some do get the rejection notes earlier, if not selected in lottery…


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