USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2016 annual cap on April 1, 2015. U.S. businesses utilize this visa program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields like science, engineering and computer programming.

The cap on H-1B visas for the upcoming fiscal year is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be exempt from this 65,000 cap.

USCIS is expecting it will receive more petitions than the annual cap during the first five business days that it accepts H-1B petitions. It will monitor the number of petitions received and will notify the public when the annual cap has been met. If USCIS receives more than the necessary amount of petitions during this five-day period, it will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the annual cap; unselected petitions will be rejected.