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H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Cap Season
The H-1B Program
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, including but not limited to: scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. The (FY) 2014 Cap season began on April 1, 2013.
For more information about the H-1B program, see the link to the left under temporary workers for H-1B Specialty Occupations and Fashion Models.
FY 2014 H-1B Cap
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period, which ended on April 5, 2013. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
How USCIS Determines if an H-1B Petition is Subject to the FY 2014 Cap
We used the information provided in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (Form I-129, pages 17 through 19) to determine whether a petition is subject to the 65,000 H-1B numerical limitation (the "cap"). Some petitions are exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher. Unless otherwise exempt from the cap, petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher not selected under the advanced degree exemption limit were part of the random selection process for the regular cap of 65,000..
How to Determine if your H-1B Petition is Subject to the FY 2014 Cap
Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who will work only in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from the cap until Dec. 31, 2014. Employers may continue to file petitions for these cap-exempt H-1B categories seeking work dates starting in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014.
When to File an FY 2014 H-1B Cap-Subject Petition
We began accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2014 cap on April 1, 2013. As noted above, USCIS has already received sufficient petitions to meet the FY 2014 cap. USCIS will reject cap subject H-1B petitions filed after April 5, 2013.
Ensuring Your H-1B Petition is Properly Filed
Please comply with the following instructions to ensure that your petition is properly filed:
Note: It is your responsibility to ensure that Form I-129 is completed accurately. Failure to complete Form I-129 with the correct information and provide the required fees or documentation may result in the rejection or denial of the H-1B petition.
Additionally, be sure to file the petition at the correct USCIS Service Center. See section below on "Where to Mail Your H-1B Petition."
Additional Documents Required With Your Petition
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
You must submit a certified Department of Labor (DOL) LCA (Form ETA 9035) at the time of filing your petition. A copy of the LCA is acceptable.
Note: USCIS encourages petitioners to keep DOL LCA processing times in mind when preparing the H-1B petition and plan accordingly. If the LCA certified by DOL is for multiple positions, you must provide the name and USCIS case receipt number of any alien who has previously utilized the LCA.
Petitioners should be sure to sign the LCA before submitting it with the petition to USCIS.
Please see Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification website for more information on the LCA process.
Evidence of Beneficiary's Educational Background
You must submit evidence of the beneficiary's education credentials at the time of filing. If all of the requirements for the degree have been met, but the degree has not yet been awarded, the following alternate evidence may be submitted:
If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, please provide substantiating evidence at time of filing.
A Duplicate Copy of the H-1B Petition
You must submit a duplicate copy of your H-1B petition and any subsequent response to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny (where applicable) if the beneficiary will be applying for a nonimmigrant visa abroad. USCIS will not make a second copy if one is not provided.
You may also choose to submit a duplicate copy of the petition with any subsequent response to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny (where applicable), even if the beneficiary is requesting a change of status to H-1B or an extension of stay, in case the beneficiary later decides to seek visa issuance abroad or the H-1B petition is approved but the beneficiary's concurrent change of status or extension of stay request is denied.
You may review the Department of State website to make sure that the consulate indicated on Form I-129 is able to process the beneficiary's nonimmigrant visa application and for any other consulate-specific special instructions.
Multiple or Duplicative Filings
On March 19, 2008, USCIS announced a regulatory change to prohibit employers from filing multiple or duplicative H-1B petitions for the same employee. To ensure fair and orderly distribution of available H-1Bs, USCIS will deny or revoke multiple or duplicative petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions.
Where to Mail Your H-1B Petition
You must file your petition at the correct Service Center depending on the jurisdiction of the H-1B beneficiary's work location(s) as specified in the petition. We established specific mailing addresses for purposes of identification and processing of H-1B cap-subject cases.
To determine which jurisdiction you are in, see our Web page Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.
Please read the filing instructions very carefully. If you file your petition incorrectly, we will reject the petition. Rejected petitions will not retain a filing date and will not be counted toward the H-1B cap.
There are different fees depending on the type of H-1B petition you are submitting. Please refer to H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (pages 17-19 of Form I-129) for detailed instructions on fees.
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee:
(see H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement, Part B):
Fraud Prevention and Detection fee:
Public Law 111-230:
Premium Processing fee:
Make checks payable to the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, dated within the last 6-months, and include the proper guarantee amount and signature.
Money orders must be properly endorsed.
Non-payable Checks or Other Financial Instruments
USCIS will reject all applications or petitions submitted with the incorrect filing fee. Rejected petitions and petitions in which the check or other financial instrument used to pay the filing fee is returned as non-payable will not retain a filing date. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(7)(i).
Premium Processing Service
USCIS temporarily adjusted its premium processing practice due to expected high volumes of immigration benefit requests filed during early April 2013. Premium processing for all cap-subject H-1B petitions began on April 15, 2013. This also applied to H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher. For details please read the USCIS Alert.
Petitioners may also upgrade a pending H-1B cap petition to premium processing once a receipt notice is issued.
Please note that the Form I-797 receipt notice may indicate the date that the premium processing fee is received; however, for cases received between April 1, 2013 and April 14, 2013, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) began on April 15, 2013.
USCIS did not adjust premium processing service for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap or any other eligible classification.
Premium Processing Service provides expedited processing of certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.
You can file the Form I-907 and corresponding fee:
If Form I-907 is filed after the Form I-129, include the receipt number (e.g., EAC 12 123 51234) of the Form I-129 in the pertinent section of Form I-907.
Organizing your H-1B package
A separate check for each applicable filing fee (Form I-129, Premium Processing, Fraud Fee, ACWIA fee, and Public Law 111-230) is preferred. Applicable fees should be stapled to the bottom right corner of the top document.
Preferred order of documents at time of submission:
How to mail multiple petitions together
If multiple petitions will be included in the same courier service or postal service package, please place individual petitions into separate envelopes within the package.
Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative
If the petitioner will be represented by an attorney or other accredited representative, a properly executed Form G-28 should be submitted. Each Form G-28 should include the following:
Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
Please note: Using an address other than the petitioner's address as the mailing address may cause processing delays related to the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE), as VIBE automatically uses the address provided on the petition to validate the petitioner's current location. If petitioners use an attorney's address as the mailing address on the I-129 petition, a cover letter should be included with the filing that clearly indicates the current address of the petitioner. This information will be used to assist the Immigration Services Officer (ISO) in completing a manual check in VIBE using the petitioner's address. In addition, if an attorney's address is used as the petitioner's mailing address on the form, the petitioner will not receive any I-797 notices.
H Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (pages 11 and 12 of Form I-129)
H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Supplement form (pages 17 through 19 of Form I-129)
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing
This page can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count
Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/15/2013
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