USCIS to Start Accepting H-1B Petitions for FY2016 from April 1, 2015

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B visa petitions from April 1, 2015. U.S. employers who are unable to find workers with the required qualification in the U.S., make use of the H-1B visa program to hire qualified workers from foreign countries. Through this program they hire foreign nationals specialized in computer programming, science, maths and engineering fields.

USCIS to Start Accepting H-1B Petitions for FY2016 from April 1, 2015

65,000 H-1B visas will be issued under the congressionally mandated cap for these visas for FY 2016. An additional 20,000 visas will be issued to those who obtained master’s or higher degrees from universities in the U.S.

Similar to the past few years, USCIS expects to reach the cap within the first five business days of this year’s program. Once the agency reaches the cap, it will notify the public. USCIS will use a lottery system to select applications for processing if it receives an excess of petitions during the first five days. Petitions that are not selected and those received after the cap is closed will be rejected.

USCIS will accept premium processing requests. U.S. employers filing H-1B petitions can request premium processing along with their petitions. USCIS is likely to begin premium processing by May 11, 2015.

USCIS recommends H-1B petitioners to follow all the statutory requirements in preparing and filing their petitions. That is because, incomplete petitions and petitions without the required evidence will be rejected. Employers must remember to submit a Labor Condition Application (Form ETA 9035) certified by Department of Labor and evidence of the beneficiary’s educational background along with their H-1B petitions. Petitioners can check out Form M-735, Optional Checklist for Form I-129 H-1B Filings, that includes detailed information on how to complete and file a H-1B petition. This will help them file an error-free petition.

Employers also must not file more than one petition for the same employee. USCIS will deny multiple petitions and in this case, the agency will not refund the filing fee.