Time to Plan for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Season

by Miller Canfield

Miller Canfield

H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year 2019 cap (FY 2019) must be received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the first five days of April 2018. As April 1 falls on a Sunday in 2018, employers should be prepared for the filing period to begin on Monday, April 2.

H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

The number of approved H-1B petitions issued each year is commonly referred to as the H-1B cap. Each year, there are 65,000 regular H-1B visas available, plus an additional 20,000 for those who have earned a master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution, provided the degree is relevant to their offered position. U.S. employers may petition for H-1B employees beginning April 1 of each year.

Beneficiaries of successful FY 2019 H-1B petitions will be eligible to begin work in the U.S. on Oct. 1, 2018. Employers and potential H-1B employees should begin the process of preparing their petitions as soon as possible in order to file for April 2 deliveries. Miller Canfield is currently accepting H-1B cap-subject cases for FY 2019.

About the H-1B Lottery

USCIS is required by law to accept H-1B cap petitions for a minimum of five business days. If USCIS receives more petitions than there are cap numbers available within the first five business days of April, it will cease accepting petitions at the end of the fifth business day. USCIS will then use a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select petitions for processing.

A lottery has been conducted the past four years for H-1B cap filings. During FY 2018, USCIS received 199,000 petitions within the first five business days of April. Similarly, USCIS received 236,000 petitions within the first five business days of April for FY 2017 and 233,000 petitions for the FY 2016 cap season. We anticipate the trend of a short filing season to continue and culminate in another lottery this year.

Plan Ahead

Due to the anticipated short filing period, advanced planning will ensure H-1B cap petitions are timely received by USCIS. Documents must be collected and reviewed to determine eligibility for H-1B employment and necessary supporting documents, such as foreign credential evaluations, obtained. The H-1B petition must also be filed with a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), which takes no less than seven business days to process. The sooner work on the H-1B petition is initiated, the more likely the H-1B petition will be filed and received by USCIS timely for consideration in the lottery. 

H-1B Alternatives

Any cap-subject H-1B petitions that are not selected in the lottery will be returned by USCIS with filing fees. In the event employers are not successful in the lottery or miss out on the H-1B cap entirely, visa alternatives to employ and retain foreign nationals may be available. Strategies regarding potential alternatives to the H-1B cap can be determined on a case-by-case basis through consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Miller Canfield | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Miller Canfield

Miller Canfield on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.