H-1B visa application period begins today

Today, April 1, 2014, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications for H-1B visas for fiscal year 2015. The number of visas available is 65,000. This number does not include the first 20,000 petitions submitted on behalf of individuals who hold U.S. graduate degrees.

USCIS anticipates high demand for H-1B visas and expects to receive enough applications to fill the available visa quota no later than April 7, 2014.

The date of acceptance of cases will be determined on the basis of when the appropriate documentation and payment of fees has been properly submitted. The postmark date will not count.

USCIS will track the number of H-1B petitions received and notify the public when there are no more visas available. This will determine the deadline for receipt. If the USCIS receives more applications than it can accept, it may randomly select the number of applications to be considered for inclusion in the pool at the receipt deadline.

In addition to petitions filed by individuals with U.S. postgraduate degrees, the following petitions are exempt from the annual cap on available H-1B visas (i.e., they do not count toward the 65,000 available visas), as mandated by the U.S. Congress:

* For persons working in institutions of higher education or non-profit organizations.

* For people working in non-profit research organizations or government research organizations.

* For persons currently holding H-1B visas and for whom a petition has been resubmitted.

USCIS will continue to process applications filed for:

* Extend the amount of time a current worker on an H-1B visa may remain in the United States.

* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.

* Allowing individuals currently working on H-1B visas to change jobs or companies

* Allow individuals currently working on H-1B visas to simultaneously work in a second H-1B job.

All persons filing applications for H-1B visas must follow all legal and regulatory requirements to avoid processing delays.

The H-1B visa category applies to individuals who want to provide services in a specialized field, services of great merit and distinguished skills for development or research projects.

You can read more about the H-1B visa in my previous Consulta Migratoria® column by clicking here. here.