The H-1B filing period is quickly approaching! On April 1st, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting petitions for H-1B visas with a start date of no earlier than October 1st, 2015.
We encourage you to start the process as early as possible so that you may get all your documents in order before the filing date. The demand for new H-1B visas is expected to be high again this year, and there is no expectation that Congress will increase the number of H-1B visas for FY 2016.
For FY 2015, USCIS received approximately 172,500 petitions, even though the allotted cap is 65,000 with an additional 20,000 for advanced degrees, making a total of 85,000 visas.
Filing late can lead to a likely denial of your application as the cap is usually met within a few days of the April 1st filing date.
In addition, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) processing time for the Labor Condition Application (LCA) will be longer than 7 days in February and March. An LCA must be obtained and submitted with your H-1B petition to USCIS. Further, if the petitioner is a new company, the DOL must verify the company’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) before certifying the LCA. This process can add several days.
Once the petitions are received, USCIS conducts a random lottery. Lottery selection should be complete by early May, and USCIS will start processing the chosen petitions shortly after.
Once approved, the foreign national will be allowed to take up employment in H-1B status no earlier than October 1st, 2015.
As always, we at Elkhalil Law are ready and available to address any questions or concerns you may have about the H-1B process, and assist you in maximizing your chances of grabbing one of the coveted H-1B visas.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.