USCIS to Begin Accepting Cap-Based H-1B Petitions for 2020 on April 1, 2019

H-1B petitions for FY 2020 will start being accepted on April 1, 2019. So, if you are an employer who is considering hiring a foreign national, now is the time to prepare the visa application.

H-1B is the visa status for foreign temporary professional workers filling specialty occupations, which are those that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a field directly relevant to the job. However, the number of H-1B visas issued every year to for-profit businesses is limited – only 65,000 H-1B visas are available each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 set aside for graduates of U.S. master’s or higher degree programs (totaling 85,000 H-1B visas available).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required to start accepting cap-subject H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2020 (October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020) on April 1, 2019. As in past years, we expect that the demand for these coveted H-1B visas will outweigh the number available. When USCIS receives more cap-subject H-1B petitions than the annual fiscal year limitation, USCIS conducts a computer-generated random lottery selection process to determine which of the petitions filed within the first seven days of April are selected for processing. If a petition is selected, it will be assigned a receipt number, and USCIS will move forward with adjudication (approval, denial, request for evidence, etc.).

If a petition is not selected, it will receive a rejection notice and all filing fee checks will be returned. If you anticipate hiring foreign workers in a specialty occupation, now is the time to start the visa application process to ensure that your petition is ready to be filed as of April 1, 2019.

Additional Assistance

For more information about the H-1B visa and to see how we can assist you with the immigration process, please contact Rana Jazayerli at or (202) 617-2711.