Washington, DC – US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Announcing this, the USCIS said that cases would be considered accepted on the date that USCIS received a properly filed petition with the correct fee, adding that it would not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked.
USCIS anticipates receiving more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7. The agency is prepared to use a random selection process to meet the numerical limit. “Non-duplicate petitions that are not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees,” the agency announced.
Due to the high level of premium processing receipts anticipated, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized intake of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS said it would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, 2014.
The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.
The agency cautioned H-1B petitioners to follow all requirements to avoid processing delays and possible requests for evidence. USCIS has detailed information, including an optional checklist, to assist in completing and submitting an FY 2015 H-1B petition. The processing worksheet is available on the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov.
US 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.