Alert: USCIS to Begin Accepting H-1B CAP Petitions on April 1, 2019


Starting April 1, 2019, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept new H-1B Quota-Based Visa Petitions for the 2020 Fiscal Year, for an employment start date of October 1, 2019.

USCIS’ regular H-1B visa cap limits annual H-1B approvals to 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 H1-B visas for individuals who earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university or college (advanced degree regular cap exception). In January of 2019, USCIS announced a change in the order in which it counts the allocations “to increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education. . . .” USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those who may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. According to USCIS, “the change will result in an estimated increase of up to 16% (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected petitions for H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.”

Norris McLaughlin’s Immigration Practice Group has kicked off the H-1B petition season and is processing regular and advanced degree H-1B applications for submission to USCIS. We urge H-1B employers and prospective employees to begin the H-1B process early to prevent otherwise avoidable errors and unnecessary last-minute delays, and to seek immigration counsel to ensure the H-1B petition process is worry free.

If you have any questions about this post or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact me at

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