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How To Properly File 2017 H1B Cap Petitions With USCIS

2018 H1B Cap Petitions:

How To Properly File With USCIS

The wait is finally coming to an end!

USCIS will begin accepting H1B petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap on April 1, 2017.

We've put together line-by-line instructions to prepare and assemble the 2018 H1B cap petitions. Following these guidelines will help you avoid delays and increase the chances of lottery selection and approvals.

A. Preparing USCIS Forms, LCA and Fee Checks

Employers filing an H1B cap 2018 petition must make sure:

  1. To complete all sections of the Form I-129 petition accurately, including the H Classification Supplement and the H1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
  2. That the requested employment start date is no earlier than October 1, 2017
    Note: Do not request an earlier employment start date or a start date of "As Soon As Possible" or "ASAP"
  3. The Form I-129 has a revision date of October 23, 2014, or later
  4. Each form has an original signature, preferably in black ink
  1. To sign the certified LCA before submitting it with the petition to USCIS
    Note: A copy of the signed LCA is acceptable
  2. To include a signed check or money order with the correct fee amount. A separate check is preferred for each filing fee (Form I-129, Premium Processing, Fraud Fee, ACWIA fee, and Public Law 111-230). Make checks payable to the Department of Homeland Security, dated within the last six months, and include the proper amount and signature. Money orders must be properly endorsed;
    Note: USCIS will reject all petitions submitted with the incorrect filing fee
  3. File petition with the correct service center depending on the H1B beneficiary's work location(s) as specified in the petition

USCIS will deny multiple or duplicate petitions filed by an employer for the same H1B worker and will not refund the filing fees.

Mailing Multiple Petitions Together
If including multiple petitions in the same package, make sure to:
Place the individual petitions into separate envelopes within the package; and
Mark the individual petition envelopes with the following labels to identify the type of petition:
  • Master's Premium
  • Master's
  • Regular Premium
  • Regular
B. Organizing The H1B Package
  1. Clearly label all H1B cap cases, preferably in red ink, on the top margin of Form I-129, using the following codes:
    • Regular Cap (for petitions subject to the 65,000 regular cap, not including Chile/Singapore H1B1 cap cases)
    • U.S. Master's (for petitions subject to the 20,000 exemption for beneficiaries with U.S. master's degrees or higher)
  2. Staple checks to the bottom right corner of the top document
C. Preferred Order of Documents in The H1B Package
  1. Form I-907 (if filing for Premium Processing Service)
  2. Form G-28 (if represented by an lawyer or accredited representative)
  3. Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with addendums/attachments
  4. H Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (Free Trade Supplement for H1B1 Chile-Singapore petitions)
  5. H1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
  6. All supporting documentation to establish eligibility (provide a table of contents for supporting documentation and tab the items as listed in the table)
  7. Arrival-Departure Record -Form I-94 (if the beneficiary is in the United States)
  1. SEVIS Form I-20 (if the beneficiary is a current or former F-1 student or F-2 dependent)
  2. SEVIS Form DS-2019 (if the beneficiary is a current or former J-1 or J-2)
  3. Form I-566 (if the beneficiary is a current A or G nonimmigrant)
  4. Department of Labor certified LCA, Form ETA 9035
  5. Employer/lawyer/representative letter(s)
  6. Other supporting documentation
  7. Copy of the petition, if necessary. Clearly mark it as "COPY" so that it is not mistaken for a duplicate filing


VisaPro is anticipating that that the H1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, and USCIS will receive more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7. USCIS will use a random selection process (H1B Lottery) to select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit.

It is therefore important to remember that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that Form I-129 is completed accurately and submitted properly, in order to stand a chance in being considered for the H1B lottery.

If you have questions at any point when preparing and filing your 2018 H1B Cap cases, please call us at 202-787-1944. Our experienced immigration lawyers will be happy to assist you.

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