Applying for an H-1b visa? See what’s new
February 25th, 2019
As every year, we would like to remind you that it is the time to start prepare your H-1b visa application that has to be filed by April 1st.
Recently, USCIS announced a new rule that affects the lottery process. As you know, the number of H1b visas available every fiscal year is 85,000:
- 65,000 – (“regular cap” for professionals with a bachelors’ degree) and,
- 20,000 (“advanced degree exemption” for advanced degree professionals—master, phd, doctorate, etc.)
- There are certain H-1b visas not subject to the yearly cap, available for employees of universities, government agencies and non-profit research organizations.
On April 1st, USCIS will start accepting H1b visa applications, and will likely accept applications for 4 to 5 business days. Generally USCIS receives over 200,000 applications during the initial filing period. To determine which applications will be processed, USCIS assigns a number to each application and categorizes them as “regular cap” or “advanced degree exemption”. Before the new rule, the lottery for “advanced degree exemption” happened first until 20,000 applications were selected. All the applications not selected were moved to the second phase, the general pool, along with the other applications for professionals with bachelors (“regular cap”) until they reach a total of 65,000.
The new rule has altered this process. Now all the applications go first to the general pool, (bachelor’s and advanced degree) until 65,000 applications are picked and then, all the “advanced degree exemption” applications not selected, are moved to the second phase where only the advanced degree professionals participate until 20,000 are selected.
This change in the process means that now, those applicants with a master’s degree or higher have more chances to be picked in the lottery. Actually, USCIS estimates the increase of advanced degree workers by approximately 16% (5,340 workers).
If the application gets selected, the officer will first review if the application meets all the requirements and those applications with “administrative” errors are immediately rejected (missing the filing fees, incomplete forms, missing signatures, etc.). It is therefore, very important to have an immigration lawyer with experience with H1-b non immigrant visas, to review the case and documentation, and to file your case properly. Our H1b lawyers at FitzGerald Law Company have efficiently helped many individuals as well as businesses with their H1-b visa applications for years and we are ready to help you. Call: (617) 303-2600 (ext. 0) to schedule an appointment with one of our Boston immigration attorneys.
The FitzGerald Law Company Team