It is H-1B season again. For those of you not aware (and to remind those of you who may know already), USCIS grants 65,000 H-1B visas every year, plus an additional 20,000 for those with a Master’s Degree from an US Institution. The government fiscal year begins on October 1 of every year, so on October 1, 2015 a new batch of 85,000 H-1Bs will be released. However, you can apply for an immigration benefit up to 6 months ahead of the start date you are requesting. So those requesting an October 1 start date can actual file their application on April 1. Since so many people apply for H-1Bs as soon as they are available, USCIS has set up a system to handle this influx. They will accept all applications for the first week of April. They will then count those application. If they have more applications than visas, they will conduct a random lottery to see whose application will get accepted into that years H-1B count. Being selected in the lottery simply means that they will adjudicate your application, not that it was approved. First, they will take all cases in which the employee has a Master’s Degree from an US institution and select the 20,000 they need for that (actually a little more knowing they will deny a certain number). All those not selected in that lottery are put back in the pool and then the 65,000 lottery is conducted.
To give some reference as to how many people apply, last year USCIS received just over 170,000 applications in the first week of April. So those of you wishing to file an application for an H-1B that is counted towards the cap, your time is running out.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.