H-1B visas are sold out for fiscal year 2017.

The H-1B visas available for fiscal year 2017 sold out in just 7 days. As I reported to you last month, the April 1 deadline to file applications was to open and due to the high demand, I predicted that they would sell out in the first few weeks. But it was faster than that. They sold out within the first week of the opening of enrollment.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it has received more than 65,000 available H-1B visas. It also received more than 20,000 petitions for H-1B visas submitted on behalf of individuals who are exempt from the cap under the "advanced college degree" exemption.

USCIS will no longer accept any more petitions for fiscal year 2017, marking today, April 7, 2016, as the last day to receive petitions for H-1B visas.

USCIS will only accept as the date of service the day it physically receives the petition for properly filed cases, not the date on the seal of the envelope.

Individuals who will receive an H-1B visa for fiscal year 2017 will be selected through a lottery - using a computerized program that randomly selects names from among the eligible petitions. USCIS will announce in the future the exact number of petitions received and when the lottery will be held.

The lottery works as follows:

First, 20,000 winners are selected from the advanced degree applications. Those not selected in that round are added to the lottery for individuals with college degrees (who qualify for the other 65,000 visas).

Individuals with advanced college degrees are more likely to be chosen over other applicants because their names are entered into the second lottery. Once the random selection process is completed, the names of the H-1B visa winners are announced.

However, there are some exceptions. USCIS will continue to accept and process certain H-1B petitions that they seek:

* extend the amount of time that a worker, who currently holds an H-1B visa, may remain in the U.S.
* change the conditions of employment for workers who currently hold an H-1B visa.
* to allow a worker, who currently holds an H-1B visa, to change employers.
* to allow a worker, who currently holds an H-1B visa, to work simultaneously in a second H-1B job.

H-1B visas allow U.S. companies to temporarily hire foreign workers in specialized occupations such as scientists, engineers or computer programmers.