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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Especially if you are not familiar with the H-1B petition process, learn the basics about the H-1B classification.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy filing!