USCIS Announces Acceptance of H-1B Applications for FY2010 starting April 1, 2009

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2010 (FY 2010) cap on April 1, 2009.  Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of the petition; not the date that the petition is postmarked.

The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2010 is 65,000.  Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. masters’ degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.


USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and will notify the public of the date USCIS has received the necessary number of petitions to meet the H-1B cap, known as the “final receipt date.”  The date USCIS publishes information that the cap has been reached does not control the final receipt date. To ensure a fair system, USCIS will, if needed, randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date.  USCIS will reject cap subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.


H-1B petitions cannot be filed more than six months in advance of the requested start date.  Petitions seeking an H-1B worker for an Oct. 1, 2009 start date can be filed no earlier than April 1, 2009. 


Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entities, or at nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.  Thus, employers may continue to file petitions for these exempt H-1B categories seeking work dates starting in FY 2009 or 2010.
 
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap also do not count towards the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:




  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States. 


  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers. 


  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers. 


  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

H-1B petitioners should follow all regulatory requirements (8 CFR §214.2) as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence.  USCIS has developed detailed information, including a processing worksheet, to assist in the completion and submission of a FY2010 H-1B petition.  Those documents are available from the Related Links section of this page.


U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

If you have a question about obtaining an H-1B Visa or any question related to immigration law, call me at 616-233-9300 or email me at info@mirquelaw.com

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Premium Processing Service Expanded for Certain Form I-140 Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand Premium Processing Service for designated Forms I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) to include alien beneficiaries who have reached, or are reaching, their limitation of stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status.  Currently, only certain alien beneficiaries who are in H-1B nonimmigrant status at the time of filing may request premium processing for Form I-140. 

Beginning March 2, 2009, USCIS will accept Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) for alien worker petitions filed on behalf of alien beneficiaries who, as of the date of filing the Form I-907:




  • Are the beneficiary of a Form I-140 petition filed in a preference category that has been designated for premium processing service;


  • Have reached the sixth-year statutory limitation of their H-1B stay, or will reach the end of their sixth year of H-1B stay within 60 days of filing;


  • Are only eligible for a further H-1B extension under section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21); and


  • Are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under section 106(a) of AC21.

Section 104(c) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to three years, provided they are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 and an immigrant visa is not immediately available.  Section 106(a) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to one year, provided the Form I-140 petition or underlying labor certification has been pending for at least 365 days. 


Premium Processing offers 15 calendar day-processing for designated employment-based petitions and applications upon request.  There is a nonrefundable fee of $1,000 for this service.  During the 15-day period, USCIS will issue an approval or denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence, or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.

If you have a question about this topic or any immigration related question, please call me at 616-233-9300 or email me at info@mirquelaw.com to schedule an appointment.

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