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Plan Your H1B Filings Before the H-1B Filing Period Begins
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H-1B visa category is for positions that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, i.e., a position that normally require a bachelor’s degree as the minimum for entry into the field. The proposed employee must have a bachelor’s degree that is reasonably related to the position. The H-1B does not require that the proposed employee must have been with the company for any period time. The drawback to the H-1B category is the limited number of visa slots available each year currently capped at 65,000. For more details on H-1B visa process, click here.

When to use the H-1B category?

H-1B visa is used when the position to be filled is a specialty occupation. Unlike L-1 visa, H-1B does not require that the beneficiary have specialized knowledge of the company’s products, processes or procedures. H-1B is also the visa category that can be used when the proposed transferee has been with the company for less than one year, and thus cannot be transferred under an L-1 visa. Certain companies may use E-1 or E-2 visa to send managers, executives, or key employees with essential skills to work for their US office, provided that the company and the employee belong to the treaty country and meet the eligibility criteria.

What kind of jobs generally qualify for H-1B?

Specialty occupations such as scientists, engineers, programmers, research analysts, management consultants, journalists, accountants, and fashion models etc. generally qualify for an H-1B visa. The positions that are generally considered professional include Accountant, Account Manager, Attorney, Acupuncturist, Chiropractor, Computer Programmer, Dietitian, Electronics Specialist, Fashion Designer, General Manager (where business is complex), Graphic Designer, Hotel Management, Industrial Designer (with B.A.), Interior Designer (commercial), Journalist, Librarian, Manufacturing Engineer, Medical Records Librarian, Medical Technologist, Minister, .NET Developer, Orthopedist, Pharmacist, Programmer Analyst, Social Worker, Senior Software Engineer, Systems Analyst/Programmer, Technical Publications Writer and Vocational Counselor. Please contact us if you wish to hire an employee for a position that is not listed above.

When can an H-1B application be filed?

An H-1B petition can be filed up to 6 months in advance from the date of start of work, subject to availability of visas under the annual cap. USCIS starts accepting H-1B petitions from April 1 every year.

When does the USCIS reach H-1B Cap?

As mentioned above, H-1B is subject to an annual cap which is currently 65,000 visas. USCIS stops receiving H-1B applications as soon as it believes that it has received sufficient number of applications to reach the particular year’s cap.

Are there any exemptions from H-1B Cap?

Apart from the regular H-1B numbers, the Appropriations Act of 2004 created an additional 20,000 H-1B visas by way of an exemption from the regular cap. Such visas are available to those who have a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. academic institution or university.

How soon should the application be filed?

The H-1B filing begins on April 1 for a work start date of October 1 of the same year. Thus employers can file H-1B petitions on April 1 but the employee can actually start working for the U.S. Company only from October 1.

What are the benefits of filing early?

It is better to finalize the candidates and keep the H-1B petitions ready for filing on April 1 because:

  • You can avoid the $1,225 Premium processing fee as there is sufficient time available for obtaining the approval and then getting the visa stamped

  • Considering that there is a waiting period of several weeks for getting visa appointments at various consulates, the sooner you get an H-1B approval, the sooner you can book an appointment for consular interviews

For whom should I file the petitions?

Because of H-1B cap issues, you need to plan for the next financial year in advance. At this point you need to devise a suitable strategy for hiring a foreign national and plan the filing accordingly. If you miss petitioning for an employee before the cap is reached this year, you will have to wait until next year to file an H-1B petition or look for an alternate visa category, which may or may not match your requirements. Hence, it becomes all the more important to ascertain your staffing requirements and plan the filing of H-1B petitions for employees whom you need to employ on time.

How can we help you?

VisaPro specializes in serving individual and corporate clients in various countries all across the world. Our proprietary online case management system helps us serve your organization, irrespective of your location or your time-zone. Our experienced Immigration Attorneys are experts at handling complex immigration matters and guiding our clients through the cumbersome, often tiring, immigration process. We have successfully handled H-1B petitions for a variety of clients ranging from a one-man start-up firm to a multinational company, from software engineers to market research analysts, fashion models, Optometrists, medical technologists, Organic Farm manager, and social workers etc.

Please contact us to discuss the immigration needs of your organization and devise an appropriate strategy for employing foreign nationals or transferring employees from your overseas offices.

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