The H-1B visa program is the most practical way for US businesses to hire foreign professional workers. This visa is for specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s degree in a specialty field or equivalent combination of education and/or experience. Employment under the H-1B visa may be approved for three years and can be extended for another three year increment, totaling a maximum of six years. Certain H-1B holders pursuing a green card are eligible to extend the visa beyond the 6 year limitation.
Please keep in mind that H-1B petitions may not be filed year-round. This particular visa type has a numerical limit that USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) accepts every fiscal year. The number is called the “cap” and the current annual cap is 65,000 for regular H-1B applicants plus an additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available as the Master’s degree cap exemption. This means that USCIS accepts only the first 85,000 petitions from US employers annually. USCIS will begin accepting H-1B applications on April 1 and will continue to accept filings for the subsequent five business days. Most years, the cap is not only met within those first few days of the open, about three times the number of H-1B petitions are filed than visas exist. If more than 65,000 petitions are received during the first week of April, USCIS performs a computerized lottery to randomly select the petitions to review. Non-selected petitions are returned along with filing fees uncashed. The cap-subject H-1B employment starts on October 1.
For F-1 students with OPT (Optional Practical Training), timely H-1B filing will extend your OPT until the H-1B start date of October 1. Please consult with a lawyer for more details and options.
US employers must plan ahead to avoid missing the H-1B filing deadline. There are certain prerequisites to file an H-1B petition with USCIS, and US employers are encouraged to contact an immigration lawyer as early as possible.
The experienced attorneys at Just Law International, P.C. are fully equipped to serve you in preparing and filing H-1B petitions. Please contact us and schedule a consultation to discuss further details and options.
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You are welcome to get in touch with our law firm by electronic mail, letters, or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information.