Millions of foreign workers wish to come to the United States to work and contribute to the United States economy. The H-1B non-immigrant temporary work visa provides individuals with an opportunity to excel in a specialty occupation for a United States employer. Once a foreign worker is offered a job in the United States, that worker must be able to lawfully travel to the United States with the proper visa designation – the H-1B visa.
While hundreds of thousands of individuals may have jobs lined up in the United States, there simply are not enough slots available for each and every applicant to obtain an H-1B visa. For this reason, it is extremely important to ensure that all required paperwork and documentation are properly submitted. Further, the paperwork must be submitted at the proper United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) office. Any small mistake can result in an H-1B application being denied.
Yearly Limit On Issuance of H-1B Non-Immigrant Visas
By statute, there is a limit on the issuance of H-1B visas for each fiscal year. The time period for filing applications is April 1 of each year and only lasts about a week due to the sheer number of applications. The general category of H-1B applicants is capped at 65,000. Some applicants are exempt from this particular cap if they are part of an advanced degree program. The limit for the advanced degree exemption is capped at 20,000.
During the selection process, USCIS uses a computer-generated lottery system to randomly select which applications will be approved. The 20,000 individuals for the advance degree category are selected first. Then the 65,000 for the general category are selected using the same lottery system. If someone is not selected for the advance degree category, that person is then placed in the general category for potential selection, thereby getting a second chance, so to speak.
Additional Exemptions from the Yearly Limit
There is an additional exemption whereby USCIS sets aside 6,800 visas from the 65,000 general cap. This exemption is subject to both the United States-Chile and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. A qualified immigration attorney can help you determine if you may qualify for this particular exemption. If there are unused visas from this exemption, they are carried over to the following fiscal year.
Further, applicants are exempt from the 65,000 general cap if the application is filed for one of the following reasons:
- Extending the amount of time an H-1B visa-holder wishes to remain and work in the United States;
- Change the terms of current employment for an H-1B visa-holder;
- Change in an H-1B visa-holder’s employer (i.e., changing jobs); and
- Change H-1B status to work concurrently in more than one job position
Additionally, individuals who work in institutions of higher education, related and/or affiliated non-profit entities, governmental research organizations, and non-profit research organizations. Whether or not you qualify for an exemption is extremely important and should be thoroughly researched and understood prior to applying for an H-1B visa.
Contact the Immigration Attorneys of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. Today For a Free Consultation
H-1B non-immigrant visas are in high demand, and there is a limit on how many people can obtain them each year in the United States. While there is no guarantee that your H-1B application will be approved, you can increase your chances by simply having the proper paperwork submitted, and have your paperwork submitted as early as possible. The immigration attorneys of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. can help you through the process of obtaining an H-1B visa with your employer sponsoring your ability to work in the United States. To schedule your free consultation with Geygan & Geygan, Ltd., contact our office today at (513) 791-1673.