IH-1B visa online filing for FY25n summary

In the past year, the Biden administration made several tweaks to the H-1B visa system, aiming to enhance its effectiveness while adhering to the mandated 60,000 visa cap.

The proposed adjustments sought to provide greater flexibility to F-1 students, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit employees, simplifying eligibility criteria in the process. The overarching objective is to bolster the program’s integrity measures.

The United States has declared that the online filing for H-1B applications for FY25 is set to begin in February.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is introducing organizational accounts to facilitate online collaboration and submission of H-1B registrations.

Organizational accounts for non-cap filings and the FY 2025 H-1B cap season will be launched by USCIS. These accounts will enable multiple individuals within an organization, including companies or other entities, along with their legal representatives, to collaborate on H-1B registrations, Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and associated Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, as per USCIS.

The availability of organizational accounts and H-1B registration dates will be announced by USCIS at the end of January. USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou expressed that this move is a significant step forward in improving and streamlining processes. Once launched, the organizational accounts and online filing of I-129 H-1B petitions will make the entire H1B lifecycle fully electronic, from registration to the final decision and transmission to the Department of State.

Andy Graham, managing partner of H1BVisaJobs.com, explained that once the portal is ready for online filings, H-1B petitions (Forms I-129) and associated premium processing requests (Form I-907) can be filed. The H-1B registration process is exclusively available online. Petitions, on the other hand, can be filed online through the petitioner’s organizational account, online by the petitioner’s legal representative, or as a paper-based petition.

To guide organizations and legal representatives through the process, USCIS will conduct two national engagements on organizational accounts on January 23 and January 24, along with several smaller sessions leading up to the H-1B registration period.

Last year, the Biden administration introduced changes to enhance the efficiency of the H-1B system while adhering to the mandated annual cap of 60,000 visas. The adjustments aimed at streamlining eligibility criteria and offering increased flexibility to F-1 students, entrepreneurs, and those working for nonprofit organizations, with the goal of strengthening the program’s integrity measures. To combat misuse and fraud, the proposed rule prohibits related entities from submitting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary.

Frequently Asked Questions about H1B Visa

Who qualifies for H-1B status?

H-1B status is open to individuals who receive an offer for a temporary professional position from a U.S. employer. To be eligible, the position must require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and the H-1B employee must possess this degree or a higher qualification.

Is having a bachelor’s degree sufficient for H-1B status eligibility?

Not necessarily. The job itself must demand a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specialized field. Therefore, possessing the required degree is essential to qualify for H-1B status.

Are certain jobs more challenging to secure H-1B status for?

Obtaining H-1B status can be more challenging for specific job types. Sales positions without special training requirements and certain roles in the computer industry, especially computer programming, may pose difficulties due to the unclear minimum requirements. Seeking legal advice can provide clarity on H-1B applicability for specific jobs.

Is there a minimum salary for H-1B status?

Yes, employers hiring H-1B workers must provide documentation to prove and certify to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that the H-1B employee will receive either the prevailing wage or the actual wage, whichever is higher.

The prevailing wage is the salary paid to workers in similar occupations in the intended employment area, while the actual wage is the employer’s payment to employees in similar roles at the location of intended employment. Employers must also confirm that hiring an H-1B applicant won’t displace U.S. workers and that there are no strikes or work stoppages in the intended occupation. These declarations are submitted to DOL through a “Labor Condition Application” (LCA).

What is the process for an employer to hire an H-1B worker?

After obtaining a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from DOL, the employer submits a petition (application) with supporting documentation to the USCIS. There are filing fees for all H-1B petitions, along with additional fees for specific cases. Detailed fee information is available on the USCIS website.

How long does it take to attain H-1B status?

The duration to obtain H-1B status varies based on factors at the employer, DOL, and the USCIS. The overall processing time at DOL, including prevailing wage determination and LCA, and USCIS processing, may extend up to six to seven months or more. USCIS service centers’ processing times can vary, and the latest information is accessible on the USCIS website.

What does the H-1B “cap” signify?

The cap refers to the maximum limit of H-1B visas allowed per federal fiscal year (FY). The cap is currently set at 65,000 H-1B visas for the entire country. The fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30th of the following year. The USCIS website provides the latest cap count.

Who is exempt from the H-1B cap?

Universities, related nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, and government research organizations are exempt from the cap. They can submit H-1B applications to the USCIS at any time during the year without being constrained by the fiscal year limit. However, if an individual working for an H-1B cap-exempt employer changes jobs to a non-exempt employer, they may become subject to the H-1B cap. An exemption from the annual cap exists for the first 20,000 new H-1B beneficiaries with a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

When is the ideal time to submit an H-1B application to the USCIS?

The earliest an H-1B application can be submitted to the USCIS is six months before the selected H-1B start date. For employers subject to the cap, it is advisable to submit the H-1B application in April for the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 when the new batch of 65,000 H-1B visas becomes available.

Is it possible to switch jobs once I have my H-1B?

An approved H-1B is specific to the employer who filed the petition, allowing the H-1B holder to work exclusively for that employer. If you intend to change employers, the new employer must initiate the H-1B application process on your behalf. It’s advisable to seek guidance from an immigration attorney if you’re considering terminating your employment or if you learn about the termination.

The H-1B is also tied to the position, meaning if significant changes to your job duties or employment conditions are proposed by your H-1B employer after the petition is approved, the employer must submit an amended petition to the USCIS. In both scenarios, and under certain conditions, you may have the option to be compensated in the new position once the employer receives the USCIS receipt notice for the H-1B petition, a process known as “H-1B portability.”

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