USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2016 Cap for New H-2B Worker Petitions With Start Date Before October 1, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. May 12, 2016 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2016.

What Happens After Reaching the Cap

Except as noted below, USCIS will reject new H-2B petitions received after May 12, 2016 that request an employment start date before October 1, 2016.

Petitions That Are Exempt from the Cap

USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes the following types of petitions:

  • For FY 2016 only, workers certified and confirmed as “returning workers” who were previously counted against the annual H-2B cap during FYs 2013, 2014 or 2015;
  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians or supervisors of fish roe processing; and

  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands or Guam.


Petitions including H-2B Returning Workers:

To avoid processing delays, petitioners who are including H-2B returning workers on their petition must complete and include the H-2B Returning Worker Certification and are encouraged to write “H-2B Returning Workers” prominently on the envelope and any cover page. You can find more information about this in the web alert H-2B Returning Workers Exempted from the H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2016.

Fiscal Year 2017 H-2B Petitions

USCIS will consider H-2B petitions requesting an employment start date on or after October 1, 2016, towards the FY 2017 H-2B cap.  These petitions will be subject to all eligibility requirements for FY 2017 H-2B cap filings.

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