Now that the Fiscal Year 2010 H-1B cap subject visa quota has been filled (as of December 21, 2009), it is time to focus on H-1B cap-subject visa filings for Fiscal Year 2011, which will start being accepted by USCIS on April 1, 2010. If you are thinking of filing an H-1b visa application on April 1, 2010, now is the time to get started with the process. Please see below for some common tips in preparing to file an H-1b visa application.
Tip #1 – You must have a job offer: If you do not already have a job offer for a position that meets the H-1b visa requirements, you must find one before filing your application. You cannot submit an H-1b visa application without the sponsorship of an employer who wants to employ you in an H-1b caliber position. There is no way around this rule.
Tip #2 – Make sure your job offer meets the H-1b specialty occupation requirements: The position you are seeking to fill must require at a minimum either a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or the equivalent.
Tip #3 – You must have the right background: You must meet the minimum requirements for the H-1b position being offered to you. This means you must have the right bachelor’s degree or the equivalent through work experience or a combination of work experience and education. Likewise, if the position requires a certain credential or licensing, you must have this as well.
Tip #4 – Find an immigration lawyer well-versed in the H-1b visa process to work with: This is one of the most important tips! Filing an H-1b visa is highly complicated and nuanced. The slightest error or oversight can result in a rejection or denial. Furthermore, with increased scrutiny being applied by USCIS, the application process has become even technical.
Tip #5 – Work Closely with your immigration lawyer: It is important to understand that your immigration lawyer is your advocate and that he/she has the same desired goal as you, which is the approval of your application. With that said, it is important for you to provide your immigration lawyer with all requested information and details concerning all aspects of your application.
Tip #6 – Understand that your start date cannot be any earlier than October 1, 2010: If you’re applying for a cap-subject H-1b visa on April 1, 2010, you cannot request a start date earlier than October 1, 2010. This means that you must figure out what you’re going to do until that time. If you will remain in the U.S. it is imperative that you maintain lawful nonimmigrant status.
Tip #7 – Understand that you may not apply for a cap-subject H-1b visa until April 1, 2010: The 85,000 H-1b visa quota (65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap) for Fiscal Year 2011 does not start until April 1, 2010.
Tip #8 – Understand that there are a limited number of H-1b cap-subject visas available: Every year there are only 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap H-1b visas available. Last year the cap remained open for the regular cap from April 1, 2009, to December 21, 2009 (about 7.5 months). In the years’ prior to last year, the quota remained open for a day or two with lotteries being conducted right away because of the large number applications received. It is anyone’s guess as to what the situation will be like on April 1, 2010; however, the demand is expected to be higher than what it was on April 1, 2009. As such, you should plan on being prepared to file your H-1b visa application by April 1, 2010.