How to Get an H1B Visa?

The special H-1B visa program allows US businesses to hire highly skilled foreign workers in such fields as science, computer programming, hi-tech manufacturing etc. Every year on April 1st USCIS begins accepting applications for H1B visas for the coming year. For instance, for H1B visas to be issued for 2016 fiscal year the applicants should file their petitions at the very beginning of April of 2015.

The US Congress establishes an annual H1B visas cap for each fiscal year. For 2016 fiscal year the H1B visas cap is 65,000. On top of it there are 20,000 H1B visas available for those individuals who have a Master’s or higher Degree from a US university or college. At the same time certain applicants for H1B are exempt from any numerical quota, for instance, those whose petitioners are institutions of higher education or nonprofit organization. These exemptions are defined in Sections 2-3 of H-1B and H-1B1 Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement.

Usually there are more petitions than available H1B visas. USCIS notifies the public when the annual cap is met. If USCIS receives more H1B visa petitions than the established cap within the first five days after April 1st, the agency uses a lottery system to randomly select the 65,000 H1B visa petitions out of the petitions received during those five days. All others petitions are rejected simply because they are out of the numerical limits.

The applications for H1B visas should be mailed to the USCIS office, which corresponds to your area (where your company’s office is located). If your company has offices or worksites in more than one state, you should mail your application package to the USCIS office corresponding to your company’s main office location.

In order to avoid processing delays your H1B visa application package, including I-129 Form, the filing fee and all the supporting documents, should be thoroughly prepared and checked before mailing. USCIS has a special Form M-735 which contains a checklist for Form I-129 (H1B applicants). The processing of you H1B visa petition begins when USCIS receives your package with I-129 Form, correct fee and all the supporting documents.