If you are seeking an H1B visa, you should know that there is a limit to the number of H1B visas the USCIS may issue each fiscal year. This limit is known as the H1B cap, which is 65,000 per fiscal year plus another 20,000 set aside for H1B those with a master’s degree or higher from a US college or university.
The USCIS will begin accepting applications for new H1B visas when new numbers become available starting April 1, 2013. The earliest start date for these H1B petitions can be October 1, 2013. Once the once the cap is reached, no more new H1B numbers will become available until April 1, 2014, and those visas cannot have a start date earlier than October 1, 2014.
No one really knows precisely when the H1B cap will be reached. Last year, it took 72 days to reach the cap. In 2008 it took six days to reach the cap, and in 2007 it only took one day. In 2011, the cap was reached in about one month. Yet, the year before that it took almost 11 months. No one can say for certain when the cap will be reached next year in 2013. Therefore, it would be wise to prepare well in advance and make sure your H1B petition is ready to file before the H1B numbers run out next year. Although we do know when the window will open, we don’t know when it will close. So, if you need a new H1B visa, it is imperative to get ready now.