U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced
today a new customer service initiative to streamline the adjudication of H-1B
petitions. Effective today, USCIS will employ a special unit dedicated to processing
these types of H-1B cap exempt petitions at the USCIS California Service Center
(CSC). Aliens employed by certain types of educational, nonprofit or governmental
organizations, as defined below (normally referred to as "cap exempt,"
aliens employed by such entities are not subject to the H-1B numerical limitations).
See section 214(g)(5)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
and 8 CFR 214.2 (h)(8)(A).
H-1B "cap exempt" petitions, as referenced here, include petitions
Such institutions and organizations can indicate that their H-1B filing is cap
exempt by marking Form
I-129 (Petition of Non-Immigrant Worker) with a "yes" answer to
questions 1, 2, or 3 in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing
Fee Exemption Supplement.
- Institutions of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 1001(a);
- Nonprofit organizations or entities related to or affiliated with institutions of higher education; and
- Nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations, as defined in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).
H-1B petitioners are now encouraged to use the following special mailing address
for qualifying H-1B cap exempt petitions. To determine if your petition qualifies,
please make sure your institution or organization fits one of the categories listed
H-1B "cap exempt" petitions, as referenced here, do not cover H-1B
petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries requesting an exemption from the cap
on account of holding a U.S. Master's degree or higher, requesting an extension
of stay, or change of employer, or petitions requesting an amendment. These types
of petitions, while also "exempt" should continue to be filed in accordance
with the filing charts on uscis.gov and the Form I-129 instructions.
For Direct Mail:
U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
For non-United States Postal Service (USPS) deliveries (e.g. private couriers):
California Service Center
ATTN: CAP EXEMPT H-1B Processing Unit
P.O. BOX 30040
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-3004
U. S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services
Each H-1B petitioner is encouraged to mark the outside of the envelope and the
top margin of the I-129 form, with "EXEMPT." This will ensure quick
identification of the H-1B filing throughout the petition's processing at
California Service Center
ATTN: CAP EXEMPT H-1B Processing
24000 Avila Road, Room 2312
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
If a cap exempt H-1B petition is received at a different Service Center, that
Service Center will expeditiously forward the petition to the CSC for processing.
In the near future, USCIS will post special filing instructions to Form I-129
requiring all qualifying H-1B cap exempt petitions to be filed at the CSC.
Please note, the highest volume of H-1B filings occurs during the month of April
(Six months before the new fiscal year). This may result in longer than average
receipting times or other interruptions in processing times. The public is reminded
that petitioners may file a qualifying H-1B cap exempt petition at any time of
the year dependent on the petitioner's need, and no earlier than six months
ahead of the intended start date.