Around the Corner: 2016 H-1B Origination Season

3/10/2015 By Jennifer Pasquier

The fiscal year (FY) 2016 H-1B origination season is less than a month away, starting April 1st, 2015.  The cap, or quota, on H-1B visas is set to 65,000 each year with an additional 20,000 visas for foreign nationals that hold Master’s degrees or higher.  Due to the steady increase in the U.S. economy and growing skills gap in the workforce, the cap has been reached within a week over the last two years.  We expect the cap to be reached almost immediately this year as well. 

What happens if more petitions are received than are available?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will conduct a computer-generated lottery to randomly select which petitions will be granted. The selection process for the advanced degree exemption will be conducted first and all advanced degree petitions not selected would be added to the random selection for the remaining 65,000.  Petitions that are granted in April become active on October 1st.

H-1B Cap Reached by Fiscal Year


Cap Reached:
December 21, 2009


Cap Reached:
January 26, 2011



Cap Reached:
November 22, 2011



Cap Reached:
June 11, 2012



Cap Reached in
1 week



Cap Reached in
5 days




*Source: USCIS

There are petitions that are exempt from this lottery process including petitions filed:

  • To extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.
  • To change the terms of employment of current H-1B workers (location, job title, etc.)
  • To allow current H-1B workers to change employers (transfer)
  • To allow current H-1B workers to work in a second H-1B position

Have questions about filing a petition for an H-1B visa?  Learn more at

Jennifer Pasquier
Jennifer Pasquier

Get to know Jennifer:
Jennifer is passionate about branding – more specifically building and growing the Populus Group brand through story and beautiful visual design. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, Michel and chocolate lab Ruby and is expecting her first little one in September. Outside of work you can find her outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, in a gym doing Zumba, or eating delicious food.

Want to talk to Jennifer? [email protected]