On April 1, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting petitions for H-1B specialty occupation visas. Approved applications will allow a foreign national to commence employment in the new fiscal new year, which starts on October 1, 2015. USCIS limits the number of petitions it will accept to 65,000, and operates on a first come, first serve basis. Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of petitions submitted to USCIS. Last year, on April 7, 2014, USCIS announced that it reached the statutory cap of 65,000 within the first week of the acceptance period. This year, the cap will likely be reached within the first few days of the April 1 opening.
For those wishing to file an H-1B petition, it is strongly advised that the application materials be received by USCIS exactly on April 1, 2014 to ensure that an application falls within the 65,000 cap. Note that petitions received before April 1, or after April 5, will most likely be rejected by USCIS.
What is an H-1B Visa?
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, to qualify for an H-1B visa, the foreign national must have a “specialty occupation,” which is defined as: requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor, including, but not limited to, biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”). Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field.
H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer. The duration of an H1-B visa is three years, with the option to renew for another three years.
It’s Not to Late to Prepare Your Application
In order to meet the April 1, 2014 deadline, you must act now to retain an attorney, gather the appropriate documentation, and prepare the proper forms. Because the application process requires third party approvals that are outside the applicant’s and attorney’s control, applicants should start working on their application several months in advance of the deadline. If an applicant misses the April 1 deadline, he or she will still have to wait until the following year to apply, and will not be able to begin working before next year.
Discover Whether You Qualify
To learn more about the H-1B process and whether you qualify; or if there are other options available for you to live and work in the United States, please contact The Grady Firm at (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form.
For more information on the H-1B visa, click here.