FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season Begins on April 1, 2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept new H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) starting April 1, 2019. The H-1B employment visa is reserved for temporary professional workers filling specialty occupations, which require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a field directly relevant to the job. The H-1B employment visa is limited to 65,000 Bachelor's Cap and 20,000 Master's Cap visa applications per year, called the H-1B Cap. The soonest an employer may file an H-1B petition is April 1st, for an October 1, start date. An H-1B via is normally valid for a total period of six (6) years, H-1B visas may be extended indefinitely upon the timely filing of the H-1B employee’s Green Card application. H-1B visas are normally issued in increments of three (3) years.

Upon the H-1B Cap being reached (65,000 Bachelor's Degree Cap and 20,000 U.S. Master's Degree Cap) after the first 5 days of filing (April 1 to 5, 2019) there is a lottery for the petitions. In the past few years, the H-1B Bachelor's and U.S. Master's Cap has been reached within the first 5 business days of April. There is no way of knowing how many petitions will be filed this H-1B Cap Season, however, we anticipate that at least 85,000 Cap petitions will be filed this year. If a petition is selected, it is assigned a receipt number and USCIS would move forward with adjudication (approval, denial, request for evidence, etc.). If a petition is not selected, it would receive a rejection notice and the U.S. Government filing fee will be returned.

Employers should identify any current or future employees who may require new H-1B visas to work in the United States. Employees on F-1 (student practical trainees) visas who need an H-1B to continue working with you, foreign nationals who are currently going through the hiring process, employees who were not able to make it under last year's H-1B cap and individuals seeking to change to H-1B status from another visa status (such as H-4, L-1, TN, or O-1) will likely need H-1B sponsorship.

The H-1B positions offered to foreign national employees require Department of Labor attestations regarding, job title, worksite, and minimum salary which has to be paid to the employee. The H-1B petition has specific requirements that must be met and supporting documentation must be obtained. Start-ups, small businesses, and consulting companies require additional documentation vis-à-vis bigger/well-known companies filing H-1B petitions. In cases where the employees will be placed at third party worksite (end-client location), the H-1B sponsoring employer has to provide Master Services Contract, Statement of Work, Purchase Order and an end-client letter along with the H-1B petition.

We request companies to evaluate their H-1B needs and notify us as soon as possible. Please, do not wait to the last minute. We have seen a recent surge in issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) issued by USCIS in connection with H-1B petitions, especially on the issue of whether the position qualifies as a specialty occupation, employer-employee relationship, and availability of sufficient specialty work for the full three-year requested in the H-1B. Despite the higher level of scrutiny being applied by USCIS, the Immigration Attorneys at Verma LAW FIRM have secured approval of H-1B petitions and we are available to work closely with employers to navigate these challenges and prepare approvable H-1B petitions in light of the current immigration climate. Our goal is to give you the best service possible. Let us guide you to ensure your petition will be successful.