Aspirants for the much coveted H-1B visa could start submitting their applications from April 1, a federal US agency has announced.

As in the previous years, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas, which is most popular among IT professionals and companies in IT services.

With the American economy recovering and much emphasis on information technology sector both by Obama Administration and the private sector, the demand for H-1B visas is expected to be met in the first few days of April 1, experts note.

“Due to the high level of premium processing receipts anticipated, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first five business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice,” USCIS said.

To facilitate the prioritised intake of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, 2014.

Releasing guidelines for this year’s filing process, USCIS said cases will be considered accepted on the date that it receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee.

USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked, it asserted.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for fiscal year beginning October this year is 65,000.

The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

“USCIS anticipates receiving more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7. The agency is prepared to use a random selection process to meet the numerical limit. Non-duplicate petitions that are not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees,” it said.

(This article was published on March 26, 2014)
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