USCIS to Accept H-1B Applications Starting April 1

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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start taking H-1B petitions on April 1. Learn more about filing for an H-1B working visa here.

Information from press release sent by USCIS: 

WASHINGTON – On April 1, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2016 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2016 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap during the first five business days of this year’s program. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed. USCIS used the lottery for the FY 2015 program last April.

So, there are only 65,000 H-1B working visas available. If you have a master’s or higher the first 20,000 applications don’t apply to the 65,000 cap. USCIS always receives more applications than visas available, so how do they pick who gets the H-1B visa?

A lottery.

Yes, from all the H-1B applications submitted they don’t select on a “first come, first serve” basis. It’s a lottery system. On average, an applicant has a 50% chance of receiving a H-1B visa.

For most it’s hard to find an employer who is even willing to invest in sponsoring someone for an H-1B, only to have a 50-50 chance of actually getting it.

There are some people who are NOT subject to the H-1B cap. That means you can apply for an H-1B at any time of the year and it doesn’t count toward the 65,000 visas available. See who is exempt from the cap and which companies are known for sponsoring H-1B visas by clicking here. 

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