H1-B FAQs

H-1B FAQs

How To Find H-1B Visa 2014 Sponsors?

There are various ways to find H-1B sponsoring companies. Finding the right H-1B sponsor can be a very daunting task. There are few options to find sponsors like randomly contacting employers, working with IT outsourcing companies, looking at options in American universities, networking with friends.

When Will H-1B Visa 2015 Season Begin?

USCIS typically starts accepting applications for the next fiscal year starting from April 1st. So, if USCIS were to follow the same trend, the start date for accepting H-1B Visa 2015 petitions would be April 1st, 2014. If there are any changes, we will keep this page updated.

Why Do We Call H-1B Visa 2015, When The Petitions Are Filed In 2014?

USCIS operates on a fiscal year basis instead of calendar year (Jan 1st to Dec 31st). Its fiscal year starts from October 1st and ends on September 30th. On these lines, USCIS’s fiscal year for 2015 starts from October 1st, 2014 and lasts until September 30th, 2015. So, even though we file H-1B petitions in April of 2014, they are counted toward H-1B visa fiscal year 2015 and everyone calls it in short form as H-1B visa 2015.

What Is H-1B Visa Cap Count For Regular Quota And Masters Quota?

If you are not aware of H-1B cap count, it is the congressionally mandated numeric limit for H-1B petitions based on category. Regular quota is for anyone who meets H-1B visa requirements and masters quota is specifically for students who have a master’s degree from a U.S. university. Typically, below are the numeric limits:

  • Regular quota cap – 65,000
  • Master’s degree quota cap – 20,000

Also, typically USCIS sets aside 6,800 visas for Singapore and Chile Free Trade Agreement filings, which is H-1B1 program.

What Kinds Of H-1B Petitions Are Not Subject To “Quota”?

a. Petitions for H-1B status extensions
b. H-1B petitions sponsored by institutes of higher education (or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity), government, or nonprofit research organizations
c. H-1B petitions for concurrent employment where the alien worker is presently in H-1B status which is subject to H-1B quota
d. H-1B petitions to change employers where the current H-1B is subject to H-1B quota;
e. People who have had H-1B status in the past six years and took up space on the H-1B quota
f. Those seeking H-4 dependent status (spouse or children of H-1B visa holder)

H-1B Visa 2015 Filing Deadline – What Is The Last Date?

Well, there is no set deadline as such by USCIS. They start to accept petitions from April 1st, 2014 and will continue to accept H-1B petitions until the H-1B cap (85,000) is reached. It can vary based on the H-1B visa demand.

For H-1B Visa 2014, the cap was complete on April 5th, 2013.

Will There Be Lottery For H-1B Visa 2015?

This is the most commonly speculated question by many H-1B visa seekers. Due to very high demand and hype for H-1B workers, we had lottery in some of the previous years. But we do not know, we just have to speculate based on past data and economic conditions.

International Students – Can We Do Change Of Status (COS) From F1 Visa To H-1B Visa For FY 2015?

Yes, international students pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. programs from U.S. universities, who may be working on OPT, can file an H-1B visa petition to USCIS with change of status (COS) option. The advantage of COS from F1 visa to H-1B visa is that you can continue to work after OPT expiration starting from October 1st, 2013 without leaving the country. You have to do the COS before your OPT expires to maintain legal status in America.

Can I Begin Working For My New Employer Once I have Filed The H-1B Petition?

It depends. If one is currently in H-1B status with another company, then she/he may be legally allowed to start working for the new employer upon USCIS’ receipt of the H-1B petition. Otherwise, one generally must await an approval of the H-1B petition and a change of status. It is important to verify one’s eligibility to commence employment with the new employer to avoid unauthorized employment, which may lead to problems later, when attempting to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR).

If the H-1B petition is approved as a change of employer (with I-94 card updated at the bottom of the approval notice), one may continue to work for the new employer until the expiration date on the I-94 card / H-1B approval notice. If the H-1B petition is approved without an I-94 card, one may have to immediately stop working, depart the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate in the home country, and finally be readmitted in H-1B status before being authorized to continue working for the employer. Status issues can be complicated and, if there is any question as to whether or not one is authorized to engage in H-1B employment, she/he should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

I’m In F1 Status And Have A Practical Training Work Permit. If My Work Permit Expires, Do I Have To Stop Working Until The H-1B Approval Comes Through?

Yes. One must stop working upon the expiration of the EAD or the OPT if an H-1B cap case petition was not filed requesting a change of status prior to the expiration of the completion of the school program or end of optional practical training (as indicated on one’s employment authorization card). If a petition for a change of status is timely filed for an October 1st start date (i.e. filed before the OPT period ends), then one may continue working between the expiration of the employment authorization and start of the H-1B status (October 1st). If the petition is denied then one will no longer be eligible to remain and work in the U.S. pursuant to cap gap.

In general, one will not receive a new I-20 or be able to renew their employment authorization card. One should, however, keep the designated official updated as to the status of the cap case and provide him/her with copies of receipts and approval notices so that the SEVIS records can be properly maintained.

If an H-1B petition requesting a change of status is filed within the 60-day grace period that follows the conclusion of authorized employment (OPT) or the F1 academic program, then one may legally remain in the U.S. until the start of the H-1B but will not have employment authorization. The individual will have to depart the U.S. if the H-1B petition is denied.

If one is unable to file the H-1B cap case and request a change of status petition prior to the conclusion of their F1 status or 60-day grace period, one should try to maintain status during this time, by enrolling in another program or changing to another nonimmigrant category, such as H-4, in order to remain in the U.S. In these circumstances the petition may need to be prepared for consular processing and one should depart the U.S. prior to the expiration of one’s status. Upon approval, the U.S. consulate abroad will be notified where one may apply for an H-1B visa for entry into the U.S. in H-1B status. If both one’s petition and change-of-status request are approved (from F1 to H-1B), then the approval notice should have an I-94 card attached at the bottom.

Is H-1B Visa Transfer Possible?

Yes, the person has to be physically present in US for visa transfer from company A to company B. Your I-94 form and few pay stubs from company A are also required. Visa transfer doesn’t get affected by H-1B cap as it is already issued, and is transferable. All you need is company B, to take care of all the paper work for transfer of Visa. You need not take the permission from company A for it.

How Soon Should I Start Planning For H-1B Visa 2015?

Well, there is nothing like too early… getting a good H-1B sponsor can be a challenge these days. Some employers want to test out the capabilities of the candidate before they plan to sponsor H-1B Visa. Typically, they would like students with master’s from U.S. work for them on internship or co-op. If they like the candidate then they will sponsor H-1B visa. If you are planning to land in the US from overseas countries like India, it could be even challenging to find a good sponsor. Maybe you would need to work with global IT services companies and make your way in. It can involve lots of internal processes to get the process initiated. You are never too early.

What Would Be The H-1B Filing Fee For Fiscal Year 2015?

There have not been any changes in the filing fee for the past couple of years. It did not change for fiscal year 2014. The H-1B visa 2015 filing fee can range anywhere from $1,575 to $4,325 based on the size of the company (number of employees). Also, the attorney fee can range from $700 to $3000. If you go for premium processing again that is $1225.

How Will The Immigration Reform Act Affect H-1B?

The Senate’s new immigration proposal provides businesses with more H-1B visas, almost doubling the visa cap. The bill passed raises the 65,000 cap to 110,000. The masters cap will be increased to 25,000. These caps can increase on a yearly basis depending on the unemployment rate, up to 180,000 total.

To further decrease reliance on the program, companies will be banned from employing more than 75 percent of their workers on an H-1B or L-1 visa in 2014, decreasing to 65 percent in 2015, and 50 percent in 2016.

Contact C.T. Lee & Associates, in New York City, to learn more regarding H-1B visas and filing.