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 ?