Immigration Blog

H1B visa 2017: quota and allocation

By Bill at January 29, 2016 01:15
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USCIS will start accepting cap-subject H-1B visa petitions on April 1, 2016. How many H-1B visa will be available and how will they be allocated this time? Here is a quick summary:
  • Annual Cap: 65,000
  • Advanced Degree Exemption: 20,000
    for those who have obtained a master's or higher degree from U.S. universities.
  • Higher Education and Research Exemption: unlimited
    for those who will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations
  • Guam Exemption: unlimited
    for those who will work in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Chile and Singapore Treaty Set-aside: unused portion of 6,800
    Every fiscal year, 6,800 H-1B visas are set aside from the annual cap under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
Since USCIS is expected to receive more than 200,000 H-1B visa petitions during the first week of April, it will use a lottery system to randomly select the petitions.
  1. USCIS will first sort out multiple or duplicative H-1B petitions filed by one employer for same employee. USCIS will deny those petitions without refunding the filing fees.
  2. USCIS will then sort out U.S. Master's cap petitions from non-U.S. Master's cases and then use a lottery system to randomly select 20,000 winners.
  3. All cases not selected as part of the U.S. Master's lottery will be entered into the bachelor's cap lottery system.
  4. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions along with filing fees.
Wow! It is time for you to update your career profile and pitch potential employers now! You can review the just released 2016 edition of H-1B Visa Report, and do your own analysis since all raw data are now available on

Not all jobs are created equal!