H1B visa 2015
H1B is a distinguished visa status offered to people of other countries to work in the United States of America. This visa allows an employer in the US to temporarily hire a foreign national with specialized knowledge. Applicants of the H1B visa need to hold at least a Bachelor's degree to be eligible for this work permit. In case a H1B visa holder loses sponsorship after immigrating to the US, or loses the job, then he/she must find a new job, change the immigration status or leave America.
H1B visa caps for 2015
The United States has presently set a limit of issuing 65,000 H1B visas in the fiscal year of 2015 to foreign nationals. However, 20,000 applicants are exempted from this cap if:
- beneficiaries have completed a Master's degree from an American university.
- they work at an American university, not-for-profit research units associated with US varsities or are involved in government research work.
Visa processing officials determine the eligibility of a H-1B visa applicant using data provided in Part C of the application form. It must be noted that only the first 20,000 applications to be cleared under the cap-exempted category enjoy its benefits. Despite the fact that you hold a master's degree from the US, if your application does not figure in the top 20,000, then you will be considered for a visa in the 65,000 slab limit.
Can this number increase?
Yes, it can. There are times when more than 65,000 applications are cleared for H1B visa processing. This happens if there are roll over application forms. For instance, if a country is provided with 5,000 H1B visas, but only 3,500 people are granted the work permit in a fiscal year, then the remaining 1,500 visa applications are rolled over to countries that have more visa requests in the following fiscal.
When to file for a H-1B visa for the 2015 fiscal cap?
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1, 2014, for the 2015 fiscal cap. However, applicants can send in their forms only six months prior to the start date of employment. Forms sent prior to this six-month period are rejected.
Points to remember when filling the form
- Ensure you have the last revised form with you, which is available at the USCIS website.
- Every form should carry your original signature and preferably in black ink.
- Issue a signed cheque with the correct fee amount. You are also allowed to send your application fee as a money order.
- Submitting all the required documents helps speed up the visa processing.
- You need to submit a duly signed Labor Condition Application form issued by the Labor department of your country.
- Submit all educational credentials of the beneficiary. In case you hold a degree that meets the criterion of the visa, but the degree has not been issued yet, then submit your final transcript and a bonafide letter from the registrar or a duly signed letter from the in charge of your educational institution.
- Make note of the correct USCIS service centre where you need to submit your H1B visa application. There are different service centres for beneficiaries of different countries.
- The USCIS rejects applications that are duplicated or filed multiple times for the same beneficiary. So ensure you file only one application and at the right time with all required details and documents for easy and quick visa processing.
The base filing fee is $325. Beyond this, there are various fee structures for various H1B visa applications.
- There is the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee that employers need to pay when filing the H1B visa petitions for beneficiaries. Employers with less than 25 full-time employees need to pay a fee of $750, while those who have an employee strength beyond 26 full-timers need to $1,500.
- Employers requesting for an initial H1B visa or for those requesting for change of employers for their beneficiaries need to pay a Fraud Prevention and Detection fee of $500. However, H1B1 petitions for Singapore and Chile are exempted from this fee.
- Those employers having more than 50 employees on their payroll, and with more than half of them having H1B or L-1 visas, need to pay a Public Law fee of $2,000.
- For employers looking for a Premium Processing Service, there is a fee of $1,225.