USCIS: Opening date for new H-1B petitions for 2018 is on April 3, 2017

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin accepting H1-B petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on April 3, 2017. This means that those who will obtain approval from the US government for FY 2018 H1B petitions will be eligible to start work in the country on October 1 of this year.

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“All cap-subject H-1B petitions filed before April 3, 2017, for the FY 2018 cap will be rejected. H-1B petitioners must follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence,” USCIS said in a statement published on its website.

The H-1B visa program was designed by the US government to allow US-based companies to acquire foreign workers temporarily in select high-level positions; mainly in the fields of engineering, science, and information technology.

However, the country can accept only a limited number of foreign citizens for this particular program. For the H-1B visa, the annual cap is 65,000 approvals as set by the US Congress. Additional 20,000 approvals are reserved for foreign citizens with US Master’s degree or higher. Traditionally, USCIS will observe and track the number of petitions received and notify the public when the cap has been met.

On the other hand, premium processing for this visa will be put on hold beginning April 3 until the start of the fiscal year on October 1. This bars petitioners from filing Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) for a Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker). However, the temporary suspension of this fast-track processing service does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

The government also reminded the public to adhere to the recent changes in its policies. “The filing fee for Form I-129 has increased to $460, and petitioners no longer have 14 days to correct a dishonored payment. If any fee payments are not honored by the bank or financial institution, USCIS will reject the entire H-1B petition without the option for the petitioner to correct it,” it concluded.

Talk to one of our US immigration lawyers for more updates on US immigration policies. You can also take our free online assessment to see if you are eligible to apply for an H-1B Visa to the US.