U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that as of December 10, 2010, it has received or approved approximately 52,400 H-1B visa petitions. The annual numerical limit on H-1B visa numbers is 65,000.*
USCIS has also received or approved approximately 19,100 H-1B visa petitions eligible for the H-1B Advance Degree Exemption. Under this exemption, an additional 20,000 annual H-1B visa numbers are available for foreign workers with a master’s or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution.
Individuals interested in obtaining an H-1B visa number for the 2011 Fiscal Year, which runs from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011, should act quickly as we expect the cap to be reached within the next few weeks. Once the H-1B cap is reached, the next opportunity to file an H-1B cap subject petition will be April 1, 2011. These petitions would not have employment start dates until October 1, 2011.
As the process of preparing and filing an H-1B visa petition may take several weeks due to the preliminary Labor Condition Application filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, individuals should file their H-1B petitions immediately if interested in obtaining an H-1B visa number for the 2011 Fiscal Year.
*Out of the 65,000 H-1B visa numbers allotted by Congress, 6,800 are reserved for the H-1B1 program for nationals of Chile and Singapore. Visa numbers remaining from the H-1B1 program will be made available to the H-1B visa numerical allotment. Depending on demand for H-1B1 visas, there may be less than 65,000 H-1B visa numbers available for any given year.