A sufficient number of registrations have been received for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to fill its annual allotment of H-1B nonimmigrant specialty employee visas for the upcoming fiscal year.
The agency caps applications at 85,000 – 65,000 for foreign nationals with a bachelor’s degree, and 20,000 with a master’s or higher. The USCIS says it randomly selected applicants who would be notified by Mar. 31 that they are eligible to apply for the visa starting April 1.
USCIS touts new “streamlined” process
This is the first year that the USCIS received applications via a new online system to replace what it called a “cumbersome and expensive process” to apply for H-1B visas, which are intended for nonimmigrants with specialized skills.
Under the new system, employers created online accounts at the cost of $10 per application, and they only pay application fees if they are selected through a lottery system. Under the old process, employers had to mail in lengthy forms costing thousands of dollars during a five-day window starting April 1.
Denied applicants could be reconsidered
The USCIS says employers who registered for H-1B visas can go to their account where they will see one of three statuses for each application: “Submitted,” “Selected,” or “Denied.”
If the status continues to show “Submitted” after the initial process, those registrations will remain in consideration through Sept. 30, 2020, in case others that have been selected are rejected because payment is denied or in cases where the employer may have filed a duplicate registration.
Deadline extended for “requests for evidence”
The agency also announced it would extend the period for employers to respond to notices requesting more evidence to support the validity of an application. The new deadline applies to requests for evidence as well as notifications to deny visa applications, dated from Mar. 1 to May 1. The agency must receive responses within 60 calendar days.
90 day deadline to file H-1B cap petition
Employers who are notified that their H-1B visa application has been accepted have 90 days to file the H-1B Cap selected registration. Speak to an experienced Litwin & Smith immigration attorney so they can move forward with the required nonimmigrant petition, supporting documents and required fees.
The Litwin & Smith team has the expertise to provide best practice guidance and filing strategies when preparing H-1B petitions to successfully navigate the increasingly complex H-1B process in light of changes to H-1B adjudications under President Trump including: “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order and the 2017 USCIS Computer Programmer Policy Memorandum. In addition, to Level 1 and Level 2 Wage Scrutiny, Specialty Occupation and Establishing Degree Requirements, Practical Implications of “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, and the Employer-Employee Relationship: Consulting Companies, Multiple Worksites, and Offsite Employment.