It is H-1B season again! On April 1, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B visa applications for new employment beginning on October 1, 2016. As usual, there is a strict annual limit or “cap” on H-1B visas. H-1B visas from the general pool of applicants are limited to 65,000 annually. An additional 20,000 H-1Bs are available for those applicants who have obtained a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. educational institution. Last year, the USCIS received over 170,000 H-1B visa applications in just the first five business days in April. We expect the number of H-1B applications to once again quickly exceed the annual 85,000 H-1B visa limit.
If you are considering an H-1B visa option for this year, you will need to act quickly. This year, as in the past when the number of applications quickly exceeded the cap, the USCIS will utilize a lottery system to identify which applications will actually be processed. Only those candidates whose applications “win” the lottery would be chosen for review and would be eligible for new H-1B visas. The remaining candidates and their prospective U.S. employers may be forced to wait and try again next year.
Of course, in some cases, other visa options may be available. If you have any questions about the H-1B, or if you would like to know more about other visa options which are not subject to this statutory limit or similar timing constraints, contact the SS+D Immigration Practice Group at 937.222.2052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.