Did you know that April 1st is the earliest that employers are permitted to file an H1B petition for the following fiscal year, which starts October 1st.  An employer cannot file an H1B petition earlier than six months before the date of the actual start of the individual’s (beneficiary) services.

U.S. mainland, as well as Virgin Islands businesses have used the H1B program to employ foreign workers in specialized positions that require technical expertise in fields like science, engineering, and computer programming.  This program provides foreign nationals an opportunity to be employed on a temporary basis in the United States and provide needed services for an employer in a pre-determined professional position.  These jobs are required to be in a specialty occupation and require the minimum education of a bachelor’s degree to participate.

There is a set number or limit of H1B visas that the United States Government issues each fiscal year. This H1B quota is commonly known as the H1B cap. Right now the annual cap on H1B visas is 65,000. However, not all H1B applicants fall under this yearly limit—up to 6,800 visas are set aside each fiscal year for the H1B1 program under the terms of the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. There are some petitions that are exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption that is provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a master’s or higher degree from a US university or college.

As H1B visas are filed and issued during the year, the available number decreases; when all of the visas are issued and the quota is reached, no more H1B visa applications (that is, those that are subject to the cap) are processed or issued by the U.S. Government for that year.

As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure that the form for the H1B visa is completed correctly. The U.S. Government says that failure to complete Form I-129 with the correct information and include the required fees or documentation may result in the rejection or denial of your H1B petition.

Sound complicated? It isn’t with the assistance of an experienced attorney. The law firm of BoltNagi PC has worked with immigration issues, and as one of the largest firms in the United States Virgin Islands, has the experience and resources to assist you. Please contact Attorney Laura Nagi at (340) 774-2944 lnagi@vilaw.com today.