As many of you have been waiting for this news update on H1B Visa 2016, USCIS has announced a press release on this. It is pretty similar to the one issued in the last year H1B FY 2015 USCIS press release, with slight changes. We will quickly summarize the key points to take away.
Summary of USCIS Press release on H1B FY 2016 Season :
- USCIS will accept H1B Visa applications for Fiscal year 2016 starting from Wednesday April 1st, 2015
- No changes to the H1B Cap numbers. The proposed changes for H1B cap numbers from 65k to 110k in immigration reform by Obama, were not taken as they were not approved. Current fiscal year 2016 cap numbers are like below :
- Regular quota – 65,000
- US Masters students’ quota – 20,000
- USCIS expects to get more petitions than the stipulated H1B cap, what it means is that they are expecting H1B lottery this year.
- H1B Lottery for FY 2016 – How does it work ?
- If USCIS receives more petitions in first 5 days, lottery will be conducted using random selection to pick required number of petitions.
- USCIS did not mention any specific changes to the lottery process, it could be similar to last year process. Check out updated how does H1B Visa Lottery Work.
- All the petitions that are not selected in the lottery will be rejected and sent back.
- H1B Premium Processing Timelines for FY 2016 quota :
- USCIS mentions that petitioners can file for premium processing for a H1B petition filed in this fiscal year.
- It is not uncommon that many tend to file premium processing for quicker decision. Due to the sheer volume of petitions, USCIS said that it will only begin processing the H1B applications under premium no later than May 11th, 2015. Last year, it was April 28th. What it suggests is that they expect more petitions will be filed under premium processing.
- When they say ‘no later than May 11th’, 2015, it means that the Premium processing clock of 15 days officially starts from that day. They may process earlier too, depending on load, but their 15 day timeline starts from May 11th, 2015.
- The filing center for a company’s H1B petition is based on the actual primary office location of the company, instead of the work location of the prospective employee. So, employers need to ensure they send their H1B packet to the right service center to avoid delays.
- USCIS have given an Optional Check list M-735 form to help H1B filings
- The H1B petitions are considered only when they are actually physically accepted by the USCIS location and not the date post marked. Plan to send your petitions accordingly.
In summary, it is no different from previous years, the premium processing start date moved from April 15th to April 26th for FY 2015 and now to May 11th for FY 2016 season. All it tells is that many are filing premium processing and USCIS is getting more and more petitions.
Anyways, what is your take on this year H1B Visa 2016 season? Will we have lottery this year ?
Would the H4 visa EAD rule that effects from May 26th have impact on the number of H1B petitions filed this year ?
Reference : USCIS H1B FY 2016 News Release