H-1B is a visa program used by U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in
specialty occupations that require theoretical or practical application of a
body of highly specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor’s degree in
the field. Such specialty occupations include, but are not limited to,
scientists, engineers, accountants, or computer programmers. H-1B gives
foreign workers permission to work in the United States and a status that
allows him or her to remain lawfully in the United States on a temporary
basis. Generally, the maximum period that a foreign worker can be in the
United States with H-1B is six (6) years, which is granted in increments of
no more than three (3) years at a time.
The H-1B Cap & Lottery System
Each year, there is a cap or limit on the number of H-1B filings accepted by
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently,
the H-1B Regular Cap is 65,000 and the H-1B Master’s Exemption (for
individuals who have completed a master’s degree or higher education from
an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning) is 20,000.
The filing period for H-1B petitions subject to fiscal year (FY 2015)
numerical cap begins on April 1, 2014 for a minimum of five business days.
If there are still cap numbers available at the end of the first five days (
i.e. USCIS receives fewer than 65,000 H-1B Regular Cap petitions and 20,000
H-1B U.S. Master’s Cap petitions), the cap will remain open until it is
filled. Otherwise, the cap will close and a lottery will be conducted from
the cases to randomly select those to adjudicate. The cases that are not
selected will be returned to the petitioner without being processed and
along with unused filing fees.
According to the USCIS, the lottery system is highly probable for FY 2015,
as filings have been increasing each year since 2008.
Delayed Premium Processing
Due to the expected high volume of cap cases to request premium processing
this year, USCIS will delay premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions
to no later than April 28. The premium processing service guarantees a 15-
calendar-day processing time. While the Form I-797 receipt notice indicates
the date USCIS received the premium processing fee, the 15-day processing
period will begin no later than April 28, 2014 in order to allow the USCIS
to take-in the anticipated high number of filings, conduct the lottery to
determine which cases meet the cap, and prepare the volume of cases for
premium and regular processing.
Filing Your H-1B
H-1B cap filing is a time of high pressure, high anxiety, and high
uncertainty. The futures of many foreign workers who wish to contribute to
the U.S. workforce are subject to the randomness of the H-1B lottery. Thus,
filing an H-1B in a timely manner is crucial to having any chance at
obtaining H-1B status. The USCIS consider an H-1B case to be filed when it
arrives at the appropriate USCIS filing location. The case must also be
properly filed for consideration, meaning it must contain all required forms
, with all necessary signatures, and the required filing fees. Cases are
considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed
petition with the correct fee and does not consider the date that the
petition is postmarked.
If you would like more information regarding H-1Bs and how Liu & Associates
can facilitate the filing process, please click here.
Q: I cannot send in my petition by April 1, am I out of luck?
A. No. The H-1B cap season begins on April 1, 2014. USCIS will accept cases
for a minimum of five business days, which is April 7, 2014. Thus, clients
can submit H-1B petitions after April 1, but the petition should be
received by USCIS no later than April 7.
If USCIS receives more than 65,000 H-1B Regular Cap and 20,000 U.S. Master’
s Cap petitions, then USCIS will stop accepting filings. All H-1B cap
petitions received from April 1 to April 7 will be entered into a random
computerized lottery to select the cases for processing.
If by April 7, USCIS has received less than the cap limit, then USCIS will
continue to accept H-1B cap cases until the cap is reached. It will then
conduct a lottery for all cases received on the day the cap is reached.
Q: Will premium processing give me a better chance of selection in the
A: No. USCIS does not consider premium processing during the lottery. The
probability of selection is the same for both regular and premium processing
Q: If there is a lottery for cases filed during the first 5 business days,
when will I know if my H-1B petition was selected or rejected?
A: USCIS usually begins issuing Receipt Notices for all selected petitions
within the week after the lottery is conducted. Given the high volume of
cases, it may take 3-4 weeks for all Receipt Notices to be delivered. From
our experience, if there is a lottery after 5 business days, clients will
receive Receipt Notices around late April.
After all receipt notices are processed, USCIS will return the packages that
were not selected in the lottery. Petitioners can expect to receive the
rejection packages around May.
Our firm will e-mail clients a scanned copy of the Receipt Notice or
Rejection Notice as soon as we receive it.
Q. My case was selected in the lottery, and I requested premium processing,
when will I receive a decision?
A: Per the USCIS announcement, premium processing will begin by April 28.
USCIS may issue an update after the lottery is completed. Once premium
processing starts, USCIS will approve, deny, or issue Request for Evidence
within 15 calendar days.
刘宗坤律师（Z. Zac Liu, Esq.）, 法学博士（J.D., Valparaiso University School
of Law）、哲学博士(Ph.D., Peking University)，伊利诺伊州最高法院及联邦法院
执照，曾担任Valparaiso University Law Review的编辑和审稿人， 著有中英文书籍
Kellie Pai律师，法学博士(J.D.，University of Houston Law Center)、文学学士(B
.A., University of Texas at Austin)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，联邦法院执照，
Christina T. Le 律师，法学博士(J.D.，University of Houston Law Center)、文学
学士(B.A., Northwestern University)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，联邦法院执照，
曾任U.S. Department of Justice驻Houston移民法庭Attorney Advisor，现任刘宗坤
Sabrina Schroeder律师，法学博士 (J.D., Michigan State University College of
Law)、文学学士 (B.A., Oklahoma State University)，密西根州最高法院执照，曾任
Michigan State University Law Review编辑，密西根上诉法院Prehearing Research
Karen Egonis 律师，法学博士(J.D., University of Houston Law Center)、文学硕
士 (M.A., University of South Carolina)、文学学士(B.A., Texas A&M University
Grace Wang律师，法学博士（J.D., St. Mary’s University School of Law）、理学
学士(B.S., The University of Texas at Austin)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，曾任
The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues编辑，现任刘宗坤律师事
Margaret Tung 律师，法学博士、工商管理硕士 (J.D. & M.B.A.，Texas Tech
University)、文学学士(B.A., Rice University)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，曾任
Texas Tech University Law Review编辑，现任刘宗坤律师事务所律师。
Liu & Associates, PLLC
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Houston, Texas 77036
Tel： (800) 878-1807
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