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3 Tips To Be Aware Of In Your H-1B Application – Immigration Lawyer New York
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3 Tips To Be Aware Of In Your H-1B Application

By Michael H. Markovitch, Esq. on March, 09, 2015

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services caps the number of H-1B visas allotted for most businesses at 65,000 per year, choosing lucky professionals with a lottery system. Last year the USCIS received twice as many petitions as available visas. 


With this in mind, let’s discuss various helpful hints to best properly prepare one’s H-1 application.


Start Preparations Early

It’s imperative the application package arrives at the USCIS center on April 1, the opening day of the weeklong acceptance period for visas for people looking to begin working in the U.S. on Oct. 1, The best thing an immigration practitioner and employer can do is to make sure it’s done as early as possible.


Some required components of the H-1B application package might take time to get, such as a labor certification application from the U.S. Department of Labor. Sending a visa petition to the USCIS without an LCA is a fatal mistake.


An applicant with an advanced degree effectively can get two bites at the apple. First, there are the 20,000 H-1B visas allotted for people with U.S. master's degrees from not-for-profit universities. If an applicant doesn't make it in that round, he or she can compete with those with bachelor's degrees for one of 65,000 H-1B visas in the general pool.


With the huge demand for H-1B visas — the USCIS received 172,500 petitions last year, more than double the cap, according to the agency — it is best to submit an LCA for DOL certification in mid-March at the latest. It typically takes DOL a little more than a week to adjudicate LCAs, he said.


The USCIS affords a margin above the caps for prospective employees with bachelor's degrees and those with advanced degrees, to account for applications rejected for clerical errors before the lottery round. And last year, it allowed a one-week window to reach a sufficient number of petitions. But attorneys say they don't take any chances. They ship the completed petitions on March 31 via overnight express to the appropriate USCIS facility.


Be Exacting

Even minor mistakes could endanger a petition's chances for survival. Applicants need to ensure all T's are crossed and all I's are dotted.  A few areas that need special attention are as follows: make sure the filing fee is correct, that the appropriate boxes are checked and that the petition is sent to the right USCIS regional center. therefore never gets the chance for consideration in the lottery. Writing three separate checks for the three different filing fees the USCIS requires the applicant and the employer to pay. Also, ensure that the job descriptions in the LCA and the petition match, and be certain the prospective employee’s education history is equivalent to that of a U.S. counterpart in order to meet the degree requirements.


It is also recommended that one be as clear as possible about for which pool the visa petition is intended. Clearly mark in red ink on the first page of the petition whether the petition is intended for the master's cap or the bachelor's cap pool.


On its website, the USCIS says that it is important to “fully and clearly” explain how the submitted evidence establishes eligibility for petition approval.


“The more clearly the petitioner can articulate his or her eligibility, the more efficiently and consistently USCIS can review and process the petition and determine eligibility for the benefit sought,” the agency said.


Get on the Fast Track

It can be a couple of months before the USCIS returns a decision, which is a long time to wait if you’re an employer or an employee trying to plan for the future. It can be a nervous time for the applicant.  They need to determine if they are to stay or leave the country ... possibly forgoing a job they were hoping to get. The USCIS offers so-called premium processing. For $1,225, a decision can come via email as early as late April, a stark contrast to having to wait for a letter in the mail.  This should be considered in all H-1B cases. While it doesn’t increase the chances of being chosen, it is well worth the additional fee.


For further information or questions you may have, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch.

Tags:  H1B Visa

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