Filing season for all H-1B applications subject to the annual cap is coming right up. There are 85,000 annual H-1B visas available for highly skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations, 20,000 reserved for applicants with master’s degrees or higher. Last year, USCIS received 484,000 registrations. USCIS selected 127,600 to submit complete petitions.
This year, again there will be a two-step application process beginning with electronic registration in early March, 2023. Employers can register by logging into the USCIS H-1B Registration System for a fee of $10 per registration. While the proposed USCIS rule to increase work visa fees to subsidize the asylum program and overhaul USCIS operations will raise this fee in the future, we do not anticipate this year’s fees will be impacted.
Following the registration period, USCIS will conduct the H-1B lottery and notify registrants that have been selected to submit full H-1B petitions. Those selected will then have 90 days to file completed petitions.
Beginning in April, USCIS will begin adjudicating H-1B petitions, which can take up to a few months. Those selected will be notified if their visa has been approved outright, denied, or received an RFE, or request for evidence.
It is time for employers to identify their H-1B cap-subject staffing for FY2024 in time for registration, and in anticipation of building a strong case for H-1B hires. However, preparation should not stop there. Since H-1B employees begin work on October 1st, 2023, the first day of FY2024, it is important to file a complete petition as soon as possible. At CCI TheDegreePeople.com, we have seen up to three rounds of RFEs before a visa is approved, delaying employee start dates and interrupting employer workflow.
The best way to answer an RFE is to prevent it in the first place. As you prepare to register and file, let us review your case and advise strategies for how to prevent possible red flags and common approval problems.
Visit www.ccifree.com for a free review of your case. We will respond in 4 hours or less.
Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com. Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.