Starting April 2015, we anticipate the new H1B season to be open and for USCIS to begin accepting H1B petitions to meet the FY H1B 2016 cap. As with past years, we expect to see another lottery with a quota in place. Those who are selected in the random lottery can begin working in the U.S. come October 1, 2015.

H1B 2016 Cap

Currently, the annual cap for the regular quota stands at 65,000 while the Master’s degree quota is an additional 20,000. Plus, 6,800 are reserved for Singapore and Chile citizens as part of the Free Trade Agreement.

If the process remains the same as in past years, the H1B 2016 cap will likely follow this structure:

  1. All petitions received in April are placed in either the Regular or Masters pool with an identifier number.
  2. The Masters petitions are selected first at random if the number exceeds 20,000. Those which are not selected get placed in the Regular pool.
  3. The algorithm is run again to select 65,000 regular petitions and selected petitioners receive a letter acknowledging their selection.
  4. For the petitions which do not get chosen, they are returned to the petitioner or lawyers office along with the fee.
  5. Those who are selected receive a tracking number to monitor the processing.

Planning Process Outline

  • January–Throughout the month of January try to solidify an H1B sponsoring company. There are many databases available to help facilitate your search and options can be filtered by zip code and city.
  • February–By the end of February you should have at least a few offers pending from a sponsoring employer. Be sure to double check the legitimacy of your offers by inquiring what sorts of LCAs they have filed in the past. If you’re having difficulties choosing one over the other it may be helpful to rank them according to salary, employer benefits, other factors that appeal to you, etc. Also, request the necessary documents for the H1B application. An immigration lawyer can tell you exactly what types of paperwork you’ll need to ascertain and how the best way to approach the sponsoring company.
  • March–By March, you should have all the documents necessary and your LCA should be filed to allow sufficient processing time.
  • April–On April 1st, your attorney or sponsor should be prepared to submit the H1B application. It’s important to have all the necessary requirements met in order to qualify for the H1B 2016 cap this year.

Noid: How Does it Differ from a RFE?

Noid, which is an acronym for Notice of Intent to Deny, is a document issued by the USCIS when an applicant is not eligible for the requested status (i.e., H1B petition). It is sent to the petitioner after the preliminary decision has been determined but the company/candidate does have an opportunity to provide additional information in order to cancel the NOID.

A RFE, on the other hand, is not a denial but rather a request for additional proof of evidence. Should the petitioner submit the appropriate documentation and comply with all necessary requirements, there’s no reason their request should be denied. It’s best however, to consult with a VisaNation Law Group immigration attorney prior to replying to a RFE.

H1B 2016 Cap Summary

Here’s a recap of what the H1B 2016 cap will likely be:

  • Regular Quota: 65,000
  • Masters Degree Quota: 20,000
  • Other: 6,800 are set aside for citizens of Singapore and Chile in cooperation with the free trade agreement.

Related H1B 2016 Cap Topics