USCIS H1B Visa 2016 News April 1st Premium Processing Timelines

USCIS News – H1B FY 2016 Applications Accepted April 1st, Lottery, Premium

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 16 Comments

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


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Comments ( 16 )

  1. Siva

    I have checked with my consultant. He mentioned that they have started receiving approved petitions. They don’t have update on mine.
    Do i have chances still? What date i can say as “cut off” for sending h1b approved petitions by USCIS?

  2. Deepu

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your valuable time in posting the comments on H1B.

    As its already April 3rd today, do we have any news on petitions received till now.

    One tricky question i have to you.. Is the LCA mandatory at the time of petition submission or is it okay to send LCA after petition submission to USICS.

    Thanks in advance!

  3. bob

    This year number of premium processing candidates will be more. However total application count will be anywhere between 120k to 130k. Which means that this year lottery competition will be less however processing time will be more for non premium application.

    1. bob

      My further predictions are:
      1. Processing of some of the premium processing applications may get delayed due to large bucket of premium processing. Delayed upto July -AUG I guess.
      2. Processing of non premium processing may take up to mid September to even end of September

  4. rakesh


    I understand that h1b will start soon for next year, but i am not sure where to start filing the application, can you help me out or if you can guide to any weblink which explains the same ?


    1. bob

      Sure, There a government website for H1 which you can Google and find out. Go to the H1b application section and file your own H1b online.! Now days it’s easy and online because of Internet to help people like you!

  5. phunter

    Good luck to all H1B candidates this year. Share my story with my unlucky 2014 H1B lottery but this story has happy ending: just don’t loose hope, prepare for and grab any chance.

    I had my PhD and worked in a company, and, was unfortunately kicked out of the H1B pool by the random selection. At that time, my OPT only had 2 more months since it was already in STEM extension. My company quickly checked with the attorney, and we decided to go O1-A, since my publication looked good and my research contribution was good too. After 2 months of preparation for O1-A (50 pages of petition letter with 7 recommendation letters from all over the world, you know how difficult they were), we filed my O1-A petition, and …. got an RFE. We then spent another 2 months for preparing the answers. During the time I had no valid work permit, my company asked me to stay home with no work no pay but kept my job position for waiting for my visa, and the company also spent another 10k+ $ for filing my EB1-B green card, just in case O1 got no luck again.

    The happy ending was, I got my O1 approved 3 days after RFE answer. I got my form I-140 approved 2 days after the initial filing. I got my form I-485 approved couple of weeks ago. Basically, I am green card holder now, and no more worries about any US visas.

    Just always think positive and moving forward. Anything which look unlucky might not be a totally bad thing. Good luck to all candidates, and please don’t double filing your H1B!

    1. Ronkur

      1) USCIS will accept application the first 5 business days of April (until April – 7th)
      2) They will take about a week to assign a unique number to each application so that they can perform the lottery
      3) Lottery will be conducted sometime between April 15th-20th

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