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USCIS begins accepting applications for H-1B visas next week

Throughout the world there are workers who would like to move to Miami or other locations in the United States to work. While there are multiple ways in which someone may try to enter the U.S. lawfully, there are some types of visas that are specifically set aside for professionals. Known as H-1B visas, there is a limited amount available each year. The professions for which the visas can be sought include:

  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Sales and marketing
  • Biology
  • Teaching
  • Accounting

The total of H-1B visas that are granted each year is capped at 65,000. There is a special class of the visas as well that is specifically for professionals from other countries who attended a university or college in the U.S. to obtain a graduate degree. There are 20,000 of these master's H-1B visas available.

The H-1B visas are available the first of October each year. In anticipation of that date, petitions for the visas can be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, six months before that date. This means that the USCIS will start to accept filings next week, on April 1, 2013. Petitions are submitted by employers who wish to employ foreign national professionals.

In most years, the H-1B visa cap is reached fairly early on in the process. Last year both types of H-1B visas ran out in early June, a little more than two months into the filing period. Because the demand for the visas is expected to be high this year, there has been some discussion regarding whether a random lottery will be implemented. These lotteries have been used in previous years when the cap was reached in a short amount of time.

Professionals seeking to live and work in the U.S. should be aware that H-1B visas are not the only way in which it may be possible to achieve that goal. An immigration lawyer should be able to let interested individuals know what his or her options are.

Source: Human Resources Journal, "H-1B Cap Filing Season Begins April 1," Roy Maurer, Feb. 25, 2013

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