Clarity and Strength in Immigration Law

On Your Mark, Set, File! H-1B Cap Preparation Season is Here!

The race for new H-1B cap-subject petitions begins April 1 (the first day to file), but just like an athlete preparing for a race, H-1B employers and prospective H-1B employees should be hard at work now preparing for filing day on April 1. Advance preparation is key make sure your H-1B petitions are in top shape and ready to go on April 1:

  1. Employers, finalize your list of H-1B candidates. Remember, this can include current employees who are working on CPT or OPT (F-1 students), candidates who are currently overseas, and prospective employees who are in the US now in another immigration status such as (but not limited to) H-4, L-1, or L-2.
  2. Make sure the position you are filing for is a specialty occupation Generally speaking, specialty occupation means a position for which a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of study is required for entry into the occupation.
  3. Determine if the beneficiary you want to sponsor is really subject to the H-1B cap. If the H-1B beneficiary 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!
  4. Determine if the H-1B petition will be counted against the US master’s quota, or the regular quota. There is a limit of 65,000 H-1B petitions available every year, plus an additional 20,000 for US master’s degree holders. But keep in mind that not all US master’s degrees qualify for the US master’s quota.
  5. Plan how you will document the work that is available for the H-1B employee. A common subject of requests for additional evidence (RFEs) for H-1B petitions is documentation of the project that the H-1B beneficiary will work on. Proactively documenting this can sometimes prevent an RFE. The type of documentation required will differ depending on whether the beneficiary will work on an in-house project, or at a client site. Keep in mind that USCIS has issued RFEs on this even when the beneficiary will work as an employee, on-site, for a well-established, stable company.
  6. If the employer not filed an H-1B petition before, have the FEIN verified by the Department of Labor.
  7. If the employer has not filed many H-1B petitions before, be sure to include business existence documentation. That is another favorite subject for RFEs – proof that the employer actually exists and is actively conducting business.
  8. Prepare early! By submitting all required documents and checklists early to the immigration attorney preparing your case, you allow ample time for careful and detailed preparation of the case, meaning you submit the strongest case possible. Because of the high demand for H-1Bs, our office often establishes a cut-off date for new cases, often as early as early March.
  9. File on time and sleep well, knowing you timely submitted a well-documented, well-prepared case.

Do you need help with the H-1B filing process, or other employment-based or family-based immigration matter? Contact our office at 804-396-3412 or to learn how we can help you streamline the process.

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