As you know, the first day we can file a new H-1B petition subject to the cap is April 1. In recent years, the H-1B cap has lasted at least a few months (until June 11th last year). However, it is anticipated that the cap may be met the first week of filing this year. To sleep soundly knowing your H-1B petition is filed on time, keep the following in mind:
- Finalize your filings now! Remember, we must have a certified labor condition application (LCA) prior to filing the H-1B petition. It can take a week or more for the LCA to be certified, and as you know, technology is apt to fail when a deadline is looming. So be sure to factor in extra time so your petition is filed on time.
- USCIS has announced that the premium processing timeframe will not begin for H-1B cap cases until April 15th, 2013. USCIS reported that “Based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, USCIS anticipates that it may receive more petitions than the H-1B cap between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013.” Remember, even if you file via premium processing, it is no more or less likely that your petition will be selected, if there is a lottery. Also, if your H-1B petition is cap-subject, you cannot start working until October 1, even if your petition is already approved.
- If USCIS receives a sufficient number of petitions to meet the cap the first week of filing, there will be a “lottery” drawing from the pool of cases received from April 1 through April 5. That is, if your petition is properly filed and received April 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, your petition will be part of the pool from which the H-1B “winners” are selected. If the cap is not met by April 5, there will not be a lottery (except perhaps just among those cases received on the exact day the cap is met).
- There is no change in the number of H-1B petitions that USCIS will accept. You may have head in the news about the possible immigration reform measures, which may include an increase in the H-1B cap. As of now, there is no change in the law, and only 65,000 H-1B cap cases are available, plus an additional 20,000 for US master’s degree holders.
To begin your H-1B petition filing today, please call our office at 804-396-3412. For additional information on the H-1B classification, including best practices for filing, please see https://www.sumnerimmigration.com/what-is-an-h-1b-visa/.