by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.
The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and science. Under the H1-B visa, a U.S. company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years (three years initially, plus an additional 3-year extension). Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the H1-B visa holder with an H-4 visa.
Applications Must be Received by April 1, 2014
Applying for a non-immigrant visa is generally faster than applying for Legal Permanent Resident Status (Green Card). Therefore, the H-1B visa is popular for companies wishing to bring in staff for long-term assignment in the U.S. However, as the April 1, 2014 filing deadline is rapidly approaching, time is of the essence in filing a timely application. This is especially important because there is an annual cap of only 65,000 petitions per year.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H1-B applications on April 1 of each year. Last year, USCIS reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period, which ended on April 5, 2013. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS received a total of approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit (petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations). Statistics show that due to overwhelming demand, nearly one-third of the applications were rejected in 2013.
In 2013, USCIS conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS rejects and returns the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
How Does This Affect You?
USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2014 cap on April 1, 2013. As noted above, to date, USCIS has already received sufficient petitions to meet the FY 2014 cap. USCIS will reject cap subject H-1B petitions filed after April 5, 2013. It is therefore imperative to file an application prior to the April 1 deadline in order to be approved to work on an H1-B visa in 2014. Otherwise, late applicants will not have their applications reviewed until Spring of 2015, and approved applicants will not be able to begin working before the fall of 2015.
Schedule a Consultation
To find out if you may qualify for an H1-B visa, or to petition on behalf of an employee, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm attorneys by calling (323) 450-9010, or filing out a Contact Request Form.
About the Founder
As Business and Immigration Attorney, Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. helps her clients achieve the American Dream of freedom, opportunity, self-sufficiency, and success by taking a holistic approach to helping them achieve their professional and personal goals.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.