USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2013 Beginning April 2, 2012

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 cap on Monday April 2, 2012.  The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for FY 2013 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.  If the number of applications received exceeds the numerical cap, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the pool of petitions received on the final receipt date.

Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.  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 FY 2012 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; or
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

H-1B petitioners should follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and requests for evidence. USCIS has developed detailed information to assist in the completion and submission of FY 2013 H-1B petitions.  For more information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283.

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