H-1B season is in full swing here at Sumner Immigration Law, and we are enjoying the fast-paced days preparing our clients’ H-1B petitions for the April filing! While the Sumner Immigration Law team members know what to expect (I literally dreamed about H-1Bs last night), we recognize that this is the first time filing for many clients, and are happy to answer your questions about the process. Here are some of the commonly asked questions (and answers!):
When do you need all my documents?
NOW! If you have not already sent all employer and employee-related documents for the H-1B filing, please do that as soon as possible. There are multiple steps involved in preparing an H-1B petition including:
- Having the company’s FEIN verified by Department of Labor
- Filing the Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor
- Reviewing the preliminary documentation and identifying issues unique to the case and creating an effective strategy to proactively address those issues
- Drafting the required forms and support letters
- Printing, assembling, and reviewing documentation associated with the case
- Quality assurance reviews
- Sending the forms and letters for signature
- Once we receive the signed forms, final assembly, attorney signature, and final quality assurance reviews
As you can imagine, this is not an overnight process. Therefore we request that all documents be with us no later than Tuesday, March 8th.
How should I send you my documents?
You can send us the documents by email (we prefer zipped files, not individual attachments), you can upload them to DropBox (we can send you a link), or you can send them to us by hard copy.
I sent you all my documents. Can you tell me if you have everything you need?
We really appreciate clients wanting to be sure that they have sent us everything we need. However, due to the way we prepare and review cases, we cannot confirm whether we have absolutely everything we will need for the filing until we actually assemble the documents for filing. If you look at the list of basic case steps above, you will see that’s about halfway through the preparation process. If you have sent us everything on the checklist and the requested questionnaires, rest assured that we have everything we need to begin the case. After we have drafted the forms and letters, we will send an email to the employer and/or employee requesting any additional documentation that we may need. If you do not hear from us requesting documents, that means we have everything.
What happens next?
Please refer to the basic list of steps above. Generally speaking, once we receive all the documents from the client, we will draft the forms and support letter for review and signature by the employer. We typically send those by email to the employer. We must have two sets of signed forms with original signature (not a scanned copy) sent to our office (our address is in our signature block). The email that we use to send the forms has detailed instructions.
How do I pay?
If you have not already paid the legal fee, we do require payment in full before filing. We always email the invoice for the legal and filing fees when we email the forms for signature. We request that you send the legal and filing fee checks with the signed forms. Again, all payments must be made in full prior to filing. We request that the filing fee checks be written directly to US Department of Homeland Security; detailed instructions are in the invoice email.
When will I know if my case is selected in the H-1B lottery?
USCIS usually conducts the lottery in the month of April and we usually start receiving receipt notices in mid to late April. If we receive a receipt notice for your case, it means that the case was selected in the lottery. Please note that we usually keep receiving receipt notices well into June! We are very aware of clients’ needing to know the results as soon as possible, so we have set up a process for notifying clients the same day a receipt notice comes in the mail. Employers will also receive a copy of the receipt notices.
The H-1B cases not selected in the lottery are sent back to us by mail after the H-1B lottery is conducted. We start getting those later, usually in May through July. We also notify clients as soon as we have received those.
We also usually post updates about when the lottery is conducted, the volume of receipt notices we are receiving, announcements that USCIS has finished sending receipt notices, etc on our blog throughout the spring and summer.
What if I have other questions? Can I contact you?
Of course! That’s what we are here for and we are of course happy to help however we can. We have found that it is best if clients email us questions. This way we have a record of our conversation (we often save this in your file for our future reference). Also, if you call, we will not likely have your file in front of us and may not be able to answer immediately. We do our absolute best to answer emails within a day, but this is definitely our busiest part of the year (kind of like a CPA preparing taxes in March and April). If you email us and we do not respond within a day, please feel free to send us a friendly follow up email.
We really appreciate your choosing us for such an important filing, and look forward to continuing to work with you!