As many of you are aware, there are only 58,200 “new” H-1B visas available per fiscal year. Applications are first accepted on April 1 (or the first business day after April 1) for work to begin on October 1. These are for cases subject to the H-1B cap. Our office completed a frenzy of H-1B filings last night so that our clients would be assured (as best as possible) of being amongst those receiving an H-1B visa for this coming fiscal year. There are some exceptions to the cap though. If you are filing for an H-1B extension (or H-1B renewal), the cap does not apply to your case. If you are being sponsored by an institute of higher education or a non-profit research institute affiliated with an institute of higher education the cap does not apply. An interesting exemption is if you’ve had H-1B status in the past six years and not left the US for more than a year since that time. It is predicted that all of the new cases subject to the cap will be used up on the first day that applications are accepted this year. I’ve previously expressed my thoughts on the ridiculousness of this process (meaning that if there is such a demand for these visas from US businesses, why does Congress not increase the available numbers?). So, if you’ve found yourself with an expired H-1B or if you were not able to submit your petition in time for this year’s season, do realize that there are other options available. Some are specific to your country of nationality while others can apply to anyone. Please see our post from June 8, 2006 (What to do now that H-1B Visas have been exhausted) which discussed some of these other options. As the H-1B has turned into a very limited opportunity, it has become all the more important to concentrate on some of these other options.