When is the H1B application deadline?
Companies planning to employ foreign workers under the H1B visa category are required to follow a strict application process that involves multiple stages and strict deadlines.
Since H1B applications are subject to an annual cap, and since each year the route is hugely oversubscribed, in 2020 USCIS introduced a new system to manage the volume of applications for H1B visas, which included a new H1B filing deadline for registrations and a later deadline for full petitions.
H1B registration deadline 2021
For the 2022 financial year, H1B registrations must be made between March 9, 2021 and March 25, 2021.
The H-1B registration period opens at noon ET on March 9, and closes at non ET on March 25.
The selection process will take place once the window closes, as such there should be no advantage conferred in submitting on the first day.
Registrants that have been selected will be notified by March 31, 2021.
Further notifications may be issued after this date should visas become available.
From April 1, H1B petitions should then be filed within 90 days of the selection notification being received. In most cases, this means the H1B application deadline will be June 30, 2021.
H1B electronic registration process
The new electronic registration system requires sponsors to make an initial registration for each H1B visa applicant they intend to sponsor. Registration requires only basic information to be provided, and a fee of $10 to be paid.
Registrations can only however be made during a specific time period.
When can you submit H1B applications?
Applications for the H1B visa can only be made by registrants who were selected in the initial registration process. Complete petitions can be submitted from April 1, 2021, which is six months in advance of the visa start date on October 1.
Selection in the registration stage does not guarantee a visa will be granted. It merely takes the application to the next stage.
The H1B petition must be prepared well. Errors or omissions may result in a refused petition, and the applicant missing out on this year’s allocation and having to wait for the next year to resubmit.
What is the H-1B visa cap?
For the fiscal year 2022, or April 1, 2021 filing, the H1B cap totals 85,000 petitions. USCIS will first randomly select 20,000 H1B cases for foreign nationals who possess a U.S. Master’s degree or higher from a qualifying non-profit or public higher education institution.
Thereafter, USCIS will randomly select 65,000 H1B petitions, of which reserved for citizens of Singapore and Chile: 6,800.
H1b visa cap exemptions
There are circumstances where you may be exempt from the annual cap:
- You may qualify for the Master’s cap if you received your degree from a US-based institution that is public or non-profit in nature and has been recognized by a national accrediting agency as being accredited.
- If you have been counted against the cap in prior years and haven’t reached the maximum 6-year limit then you may qualify for an exemption.
- Existing H1B visa holders who are seeking to transfer to another company are not subject to the cap.
- If the petition is filed by a non-profit organization or institute of higher learning.
How much does the H1B visa application cost?
There are a number of fees due as part of the H1B application.
Note however that H1B filing fees must be paid by the petitioning employer – and not the beneficiary. Penalties can ensure where an employer has not fulfilled this requirement, including revocation of the H1B visa.
This does not apply to the premium processing fee, under certain conditions.
- Base filing fee: $460per petition
- Electronic filing fee: $10 per petition
- AICWA fee: $750 for employers with 1 to 25 full time employees; $1,500 for employers with 26 or more full time equivalent employees
- Fraud prevent & detection fee: $500 – only applies to new H1Bs and change of employers petitions
- Fee based on Public Law 114-113: $4000 – applicable, if 50 or more employees and more than 50% of employees are on H1B or L1 Visa status, required for new H-1B filing and change of employers.
- Premium processing fee (optional) – $1500 – for faster adjudication within 15 calendar days.
You should also factor in legal advice from an immigration attorney.
What is the H1B visa?
The H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa for non-USworkers with specialty skills who typically hold an advanced degree.
Qualified positions include roles (among many others) in:
- Data communications
Each H1B visa applicant must be ‘sponsored’ by a US employer – the petitioner – that holds an approved Labor Condition Application.
The employer has to prove a need for a specialty worker as the minimum requirement for taking up the job on offer.
The H1B visa is valid for three years and may be extended for another three years. The employer may later sponsor the H1B holder for a green card.
The H1B visa category remains notoriously over-subscribed and competitive. Even where the registration is selected in the initial round, this is no guarantee the visa will be secured. For prospective H1B employers and employees alike, this means applications require planning and preparation to meet the required criteria and collate the documentary support, ensuring the petition is filed on time and ahead of the H1B filing deadline.
Tips for making an H1B application
Get your submission right
Once you’ve completed the submission, check and check again! Include all the information that’s requested including evidence that the employer can pay the required salary. Missing information or forgetting to sign a section can result in issues with your application.
Employers can’t increase their chances of being selected by submitting duplicate petitions for the same individual. Duplicate petitions filed by an employer for one individual will be refused. Individuals, however, are permitted to submit multiple applications in respect of multiple employers. This includes where the individual intends to work part-time.
Meet the application criteria
Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements, and have sufficient evidence to prove your suitability. Individuals are required to hold a degree, and this must relate in some logical sense to the specialty position(s) being applied for.
Be ready to push the button on the day the H1B window opens in April
Submitting the petition early means if there are issues or questions, there should be time to address the queries. This means preparing your application thoroughly and in good time. Avoid the rush of completing forms and compiling supporting evidence. The annual window opens in the of April, typically April 1st if this is a business day. Double-check the opening date for the year you are applying.
Have a ‘plan B’
What are the alternative work visa options in the event you are not able to secure an H1B this year?
NNU Immigration can help
NNU Immigration are specialist US immigration attorneys based in London, UK. We work with employers and individuals seeking to secure a visa to work in the USA, including the H-1B visa route. We can advise on all aspects of the eligibility requirements and can guide applicants through the petitioning process, including advice on the H-1B filing deadline and meeting the strict timescales.
If you have a question about the H-1B visa, speak to our experts.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.