The April 1, 2008 date on which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") can receive H-1B petitions on behalf of specialty workers is rapidly approaching. Due to the overwhelming demand for the 65,000 visas allocated by Congress (plus an additional 20,000 for those who hold a U.S. master's degree or other qualifying graduate degree), employers that wish to file an H-1B petition must plan to file their cases with CIS on April 1, 2008. For FY2008, CIS received 122,480 petitions on the first day of filing and conducted a random lottery to determine which petitions would garner a spot. The importance of filing an H-1B petition for CIS receipt on April 1 is evident. If you have not already contacted us about filing an H-1B petition for an employee who needs to enter the H-1B category, you should do so immediately.

Persons already counted under the H-1B cap and who need an extension of stay are not subject to the annual limitation. The limitation applies only to persons not yet counted against the cap. CIS has indicated that it is re-examining whether petitioners can file a petition in both the regular 65,000 slot category and also in the 20,000 advanced degree category. CIS had permitted dual filing in past years where the beneficiary held a U.S. graduate degree and could qualify in both categories.