H-1B Cap Season Is Upon Us! Ten Ways to Prepare NOW for Success

Tis the season – H-1B season! As an immigration attorney practicing in the employment-based immigration realm, I fondly refer to the period of time from around January to April 1 each year as H-1B season. This is the time of year when our office is abuzz preparing H-1B petitions for the H-1B cap to be filed on April 1. The H-1B cap refers to the limit of 65,000 new H-1Bs each year (this does not include H-1B transfers or extensions, and it does not include certain other cap-exempt filings) plus an additional 20,000 for US master’s degree holders. The first day that we can file a new H-1B petition subject to the cap is April 1st. For the past several years, the number of H-1B cap petitions submitted to USCIS has far exceeded the numerical H-1B cap. When that happens, USCIS conducts a lottery of all H-1B cap cases received the first five business days of filing. For that reason, it is critically important to submit a well-documented petition on April 1st, or at least within those first five business days starting April 1.

And now, ten ways you can prepare now for H-1B cap filing success:

  1. The # 1 way you can prepare for success: start preparing your petitions now! Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for stress for everyone involved, and doesn’t leave room for unexpected delays. Start now and you can sleep easy come late March.
  2. For new H-1B filers (employers who have never filed an H-1B petition before): have your FEIN verified now! Read more about the FEIN verification process here.
  3. Also for new H-1B filers, prepare your business existence documentation to submit with the filing. For a list of suggested documents, check out this post.
  4. For consulting companies where the H-1B employee will be placed at an end client worksite, think about what documentation you can submit to establish that there is an employee-employer relationship, and that there is H-1B work available at the end client site. You can check this post for ideas.
  5. If the H-1B employee will be working on an in-house project (especially IT professionals), this post has information about how to document the project.
  6. Especially if you are not familiar with the H-1B petition process, learn the basics about the H-1B classification.
  7. Know which cap you or your H-1B employee will fall into – US master’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind that not all US master’s degrees are created equal!
  8. Make sure that you or your H-1B employee really falls under the H-1B cap. If the H-1B candidate was counted against the cap within the past six years, he or she may not be subject to the H-1B cap – that’s always a happy surprise, especially during H-1B season!
  9. Have the correct credentials evaluation prepared. USCIS may require a more detailed evaluation if you are using a combination of education and experience to attain the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. Check out point number three of this post for more information.
  10. File early (on April 1) and sleep well knowing you and your immigration attorney have worked hard and have done everything possible to maximize the chances of H-1B success!

Do you need assistance with an H-1B filing or other employment-based of family-based immigration matter? Please contact us today to see how we can help! 804-396-3412 or info@sumnerimmigration.com. Happy filing!

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