H-1B cap reached for 2019; Who is exempt from the cap?

H-1B cap reached for 2019; Who is exempt from the cap?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings (PDF, 119 KB). USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. 

What is the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. By statute, H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions for these visas filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap (Master's cap).

Who is exempt from the H-1B Cap?

The following are exempt from the H-1B Cap:

  1. H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization.
  2. Current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap.

USCIS will also continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  1. Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  2. Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  3. Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  4. Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

If you have questions about the H-1B visa application and process, please contact us. We are here to help. Stay in the know - follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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