U.S. businesses use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, including, but not limited to: scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. Many more specialty occupations are covered under the H1B visa program. Consult with one of our attorneys today to see if the position being offered falls within USCIS regulations on Specialty Occupations.
Each year some of the new (first time filers) H-1B visas are subject to a cap. Some employers such as non-profits, institutes of higher education or those associated with such institutes, as well as some governmental organizations are not subject to the cap. Enquire with an attorney to find out if your potential employer is cap-subject. There are 65,000 H-1B regular cap case visas per year, and 20,000 H-1B visas available for candidates with Master’s degrees or higher. Typically, all cap subject petitions are filed on or about 1 April of each year.
Cap Eligible Petitions
This is the number of petitions that USCIS has accepted for this particular type of cap. It includes cases that have been approved or are still pending. It does not include petitions that have been denied.
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrant visas are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the 65,000 each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S. Chile and U.S. Singapore free trade agreements. Unused visas in this group become available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA), Public Law 110-229, includes a provision exempting H-1B workers performing labor or services in the CNMI and Guam from the H-1B numerical limitation. H-1B workers in Guam and the CNMI are exempt from the statutory numerical limitation for H-1B classification provided that the petition is filed before December 31, 2014. Employers cannot file an extension request for an employee more than six months in advance of the intended employment start date. As a reminder, USCIS will reject extensions filed more than six months in advance.
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.
The following fees may be required with a petition subject to the cap:
Base filing fee:
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee:
(see H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement, Part B):
- $750 for employers with 1 to 25 full-time equivalent employees, unless exempt
- $1,500 for employers with 26 or more full-time equivalent employees, unless exempt
Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee:
- $500 to be submitted with a request for initial H-1B status or with a request for a beneficiary already in H-1B status to change employers. (This fee does not apply to Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions.)
Public Law 111-230:
- $2,000 to be submitted by a petitioner that employs 50 or more employees in the United States, if more than half of those employees are in H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant status.
- must be submitted with a request for initial H-1B status or a request for a beneficiary already in H-1B status to change employers
Premium Processing Fee:
- $1,225 for employers seeking Premium Processing Service
Premium Processing Service
H-1B petitioners may choose to file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service to have their petition processed within 15 calendar days. To request premium processing, submit:
- The Form I-907; and
- The premium processing fee of $1,225. (This fee is in addition to the required base filing fee and other applicable fees and cannot be waived.)
You can file the Form I-907 and pay the premium processing fee:
- At the same time as Form I-129; or
- At any time after you file Form I-129 while it is still pending.