On April 1, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting cap subject H-1B petitions for professional workers starting employment on October 1, 2018. In past years, the high demand for this much sought after visa has resulted in an oversubscription of petition filings due to the limited number of visas available. There are only 65,000 visas available per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 set aside for those who have graduated from master’s degree programs in the United States.

H-1B visas are the most common temporary work permits available to foreign national professionals and employers should identify those who might require first time H-1B sponsorship. These might include:

  • F-1 students currently working on OPT who require changes of status to H-1B;
  • Highly sought after professionals currently located outside the United States seeking employment for the first time;
  • Foreign nationals inside the United States currently holding other nonimmigrant status that will max out (i.e. L-1A or L-1B visas);
  • Foreign nationals currently working in the United States in H-1B status working for a cap-exempt organization (not for profit or educational institution) who require a cap-subject H-1B to work for a private, for profit company; and
  • TN NAFTA visa holders from Canada or Mexico who have spent much time in the United States and would benefit from a change of status to H-1B.

We anticipate that for this coming year, the H-1B cap will be reached the first week of April 2018.

If you are considering sponsorship of a foreign national for an H-1B visa this year, advance preparation is crucial to be ready and prepared for the filing period. A careful review of both the applicant’s qualifications and position offered by the U.S. petitioning company is important to assure that the H-1B filing is approved by U.S. Citizenship Services.