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Tips for preparing for the FY 2019 H-1B CAP Season

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be accepting H-1B CAP petitions for the federal fiscal year 2019 on April 2, 2018.

The H-1B classification is reserved for “specialty occupations” which is a non-immigrant visa. Immigration regulations allow for an individual to remain in the United States in this status for, up to three years initially and then renewable for three more years, a total of six years.

The H-1B quotas for FY2019 are capped at 65,000 petitions in addition to 20,000 petitions for those beneficiaries with advanced degrees from a U.S. college or university.

The following are a few points to be considered before filing a H-1B lottery petition:

  • Petition needs to be timely filed
  • Start gathering documents well ahead of time (preferably by February)
  • Employers must check if the foreign worker has been previously counted against the cap
  • The specialty occupation must be related to the H-1B worker’s degree
  • Ensure that Beneficiary will be able to perform work on October 1, 2018
  • Ensure that all questions are consistently answered and all the accompanying documentation is in order
  • Check the prevailing wage (PW) requirement, if the salary is designated as PW Level 1 (e.g. entry level), allocate additional time for case preparation
  • Answer correctly and consistently. One of the most common errors of inconsistency for H-1B filing relates to Occupation Code. E.g. Business Analyst comes under Management Analyst as well as Computer Systems Analyst Occupation and both have a different job code
  • If the company is filing its first H-1B, get its FEIN (tax ID number) verified as soon as possible, as the verification takes additional time to get processed
  • The USCIS will not make assumptions about what the petitioner really intended if it is not clear on the face of the documents submitted
  • H-1B petitions must be filed either at Vermont or California Service Center, depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Include the correct filing fees
  • Employer can also file a cap petition with premium processing (a guaranteed fifteen-calendar-day response time) service by paying an additional fee of $ 1,225
  • Use Bonded Couriers for Delivery to the USCIS Service Center.

The following delivery methods are acceptable:

  • United States Postal Service
  • Private Couriers that are bonded (DHL, Federal Express, and United Parcel Service.)

Keywords: H-1B, Cap, Petition, FY 2019