As of September 24, 2010, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) had received 39,600 cap eligible petitions for H-1B status for fiscal year 2011, plus 14,400 petitions for alien’s with advanced degrees. The numbers reflect both approved petitions and petitions still pending with USCIS.
The Department of Homeland Security caps the H-1B category at 65,000 per fiscal year (October 1 to September 30). Out of the cap total, 20,000 visas are set aside for aliens who have earned a Masters or higher degree from an accredited United States university. Another 6,800 are set aside for nationals of Chile and Singapore seeking H-1B1 status under Free Trade Agreements. Aliens seeking an extension or change of status, who have been counted towards the cap within the last six years, and who have not been outside of the United States for more than 365 days, are also exempt from the H-1B cap.
Once USCIS has received the maximum H-1B petitions of 65,000, either for cap subject or aliens with advance degrees, H-1B visas will not be available again until October 1, 2011 (FY2012). Petitions for fiscal year 2012 may be filed with USCIS no earlier than April 1, 2011, for a start date of October 1, 2011.
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