What is an H-1B Petition?
Businesses operating in the U.S. can file an H-1B petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in order to employ foreign nationals in professional occupations that require specialized knowledge such as engineering, science and computer programming. This allows U.S. businesses to access a talent pool of employees from other countries and allows the worker to be employed and live in the U.S. for a period of two years.
Only a Limited Number of Applicants are Approved
The H-1B visa has a congressionally mandated cap, which is 65,000 visa applicants for the 2016 fiscal year (FY2016). In order to encourage those with higher education to apply, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for applicants that have received a master’s degree or higher that is granted from a U.S. educational institution are exempt from the cap of 65,000.
The Application Process for an H-1B Visa
Applicants may apply for an H-1B visa starting April 1, 2015 for the 2016 fiscal year; however USCIS expects the cap on H1B visas to reach the maximum allowed within the first five business days of the April 1st date that opens the program for FY2016. Once the maximum quantity of applications is received, USCIS will notify the public that it has reached the mandated cap. If USCIS indeed receives more petitions than allowed during the first five business days, a lottery system will be used to randomly select the number of petitions until the limit is reached. Once USCIS has determined the cap has been met, any visa petitions that were not selected will then be rejected.
For additional information, click on the following link, which takes you to information on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website: