Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

FY 2010 H-1B Cap Reached

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 22, 2009, that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2010. December 21, 2009, is the “final receipt date” for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2010. Regulations now provide that H-1B petitions received by USCIS on or before December 19 (because of the weekend) have been submitted “under the cap,” but H-1B petitions received by USCIS on or after December 22, 2009, will be rejected.

USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. Properly filed cases will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2010 that arrive after December 21, 2009.

USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap and were received on December 21, 2009. USCIS will reject, and return the fee, for all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected.
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2010 H-1B cap. Therefore, USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:

  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.
  • change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers
  • allow current H-1B workers to change employers
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position

Now that the FY 2010 cap has been reached, the earliest an employer can file a new H-1B petition will be April 1, 2010, with an employment start date of October 1, 2010.

For more details on the H-1B count, see For information on the temporary acceptance of H-1B petitions without Department-certified LCAs, download this PDF. For a Q&A on the same topic, download this PDF.

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About the Author

Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.