U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received almost 233,000 H-1B applications in the first week of April, 2015. This is approximately 35% more than were filed in the same period last year. With only 85,000 H-1B visas available, nearly two-thirds of all applications will be rejected.
By law, the number of H-1B visas is capped at 65,000 under the general category, with an additional 20,000 for applicants with advanced degrees. Since there were far more applications received than are visas available, USCIS uses a computer-generated lottery system to decide which applications are accepted.
USCIS provides premium processing service for employers that pay an additional $1225 fee when filing the applications. This service guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.
For H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap and for any other visa classification, the 15-day processing period for premium processing service begins on the date that USCIS receives the request. However, for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including advanced degree exemption petitions, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will begin on April 27, 2015, regardless of the date on the Form I-797 receipt notice, which indicates the date that the premium processing fee is received.
For more information, check back to this blog, or you can subscribe to updates on the USCIS website.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.