H-1B Visas for Fiscal Year 2015 Beginning April 1, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS anticipates receiving more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7. The agency is prepared to use a random selection process to meet the numerical limit. Non-duplicate petitions that are not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees.

Due to the high level of premium processing receipts anticipated, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized intake of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, 2014. The H-1B Program

The H-1B Program

U.S. businesses use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, including, but not limited to: scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. For more information about the H-1B program, visit our H-1B Specialty Occupations Web page.

How USCIS Determines If an H-1B Petition Is Subject to the FY 2015 Cap

We use the information provided in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (pages 17-19 of Form I-129 with a revision date of November 23, 2010, or later). This information helps us determine whether a petition is subject to the regular cap of 65,000 H-1B visas. An advanced degree exemption is provided for the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Once that limit is reached, any petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher will count against the regular cap, unless exempt for other reasons.

FY 2015 H-1B Cap Count

Cap Type     Cap Amount Cap Eligible Petitions Date of Last Count
  H-1B Regular Cap  65,000
H-1B Master’s Exemption  20,000

Cap Eligible Petitions

This is the number of petitions that USCIS has accepted for this particular type of cap. It includes cases that have been approved or are still pending. It does not include petitions that have been denied.

Cap Amounts

The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrant visas are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the 65,000 each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S. Chile and U.S. Singapore free trade agreements. Unused visas in this group become available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.

When to File an FY 2015 H-1B Cap-Subject Petition

We will begin accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. You may file an H-1B petition no more than six months in advance of the employment start date requested for the beneficiary.