H-1B Visa Cap Survival Guide

The H-1B visa has become one of the most sought after work visas in America. U.S. employers who rely on foreign talent to fill highly technical roles often look to the H-1B visa as a sponsorship option. And while hundreds of thousands of cap-subject applications are filed each year, only 85,000 petitions are accepted (20,000 for candidates holding a U.S. Master’s degree or more plus 65,000 for all other candidates).

The cutoff date for applications submitted to the cap isn’t defined, which means if you’re unprepared or late to the game, you could miss the cap and be left with an unfilled role. Thousands of employers who miss the cutoff are forced to either wait until the following year to refile or consider alternative visas.

The cap for Fiscal Year 2018 was reached in five business days – a clear sign that submitting applications for H-1B cap-subject visas as soon as the lottery opens is essential. Last year, 199,000 petitions were submitted to the cap-subject H-1B visa lottery which means 57 percent of all petitioners were left without visas before the cap was reached.


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