Tag Archive H-1B Cap

ByPhillip Kim

Time to File H-1B Work Visa 2017; when to file h1b 2018 cap how to file and change status prevailing wage specialty occupation

Now is the time to prepare for your H-1B Work Visa/status filing. It is anticipated that USCIS will reach its H-1B Cap in the first week of April 2017. Thus, you should start your preparation now or by mid February at the latest, because it could take a few weeks to complete H-1B filing.

Requirement 1 – You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning U.S. employer.

In general, a valid employer-employee relationship is determined by whether the U.S. employer may hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of the H-1B worker. In some cases, the sole or majority owner of the petitioning company or organization may be able to establish a valid employer-employee relationship, if the facts show that the petitioning entity has the right to control the beneficiary’s employment.

Requirement 2 – Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position;
  • The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position;
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

that normally requires a degree in a related field?

Requirement 3 – Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field of study.

+ How do I show that my degree is related to the specialty occupation?

+ Can I qualify without a bachelor’s degree?

Requirement 4 – You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is higher.

The prevailing wage is determined based on the position in which you will be employed and the geographic location where you will be working (among other factors). The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a database with applicable current prevailing wage levels based on occupation and work location. To view the wage database and estimate the prevailing wage that may be required for your position, click here.


Requirement 5 – An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless the petition is exempt from numerical limits.

The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education (or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities), a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.  Cap numbers are often used up very quickly, so it is important to plan in advance if you will be filing for an H-1B visa that is subject to the annual H-1B numerical cap. The U.S. government’s fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. H-1B petitions can be filed up to 6 months before the start date, which is generally April 1 for an October 1 start date.

(from USCIS)


Employment in the U.S.: Do You Qualify for an H-1B Visa?

H-1B visas apply to people who want to come to the U.S. to perform special services or work on the basis of exceptional merit. You can live in the U.S. for 3 years and this time can be extended up to 6 years.
If you would like to be considered for an H-1B visa for specialty occupations, one of the following must be true about your job.


  • The job requires someone who has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In some countries, the Bachelor’s degree is known by another name – that is fine as long as it is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.


  • Secondly, it must be true that the employer normally needs someone with a degree to work. It also has to be normal for the industry to require a degree from workers. For example, it is a common rule that doctors, teachers, or engineers to have some form of degree in order to work. Restaurant or gas station jobs do not require special degrees from its workers.


  • The job can also be so complicated that it cannot be done by a worker who does not have a degree or Bachelor’s degree.

If your job meets just one of the conditions listed above, the first check has been completed. You are now ready to determine if you meet the criteria to apply for an H-1B visa. In order to be eligible, you must meet one of the following conditions.


  • You must hold a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent that is required by your employer at an accredited university or college.


  • Or, you must have a license that indicates that you are authorized to work in the state where you are employed. If you are planning on working in California, your license should state that you are permitted to practice your employment in this state.

If you don’t fall into the categories listed, you still have a chance at being accepted for an H-1B:

  • Have you worked or trained in a job enough that you now have the education and expertise of someone who has a degree? Then you might qualify. It is necessary that your knowledge of the field is recognized through advanced employment positions that indicate your level of training in the field.

If your job satisfies one of the criteria above and you educational or employment history indicates that you meet one of the criteria as well, then you may have a chance at receiving an H-1B visa. Other factors must be taken into consideration like the H-1B cap. Every fiscal year, 65,000 H-IB visas are granted to workers. If you have an advanced degree, higher than a Bachelor’s, then you may be exempt from the cap. Also, extra visas are set aside every year for workers from Chile and Singapore. Otherwise, your application may be rejected due to the limit per year. Contact an immigration attorney for more information about the fiscal year cap and whether or not you qualify for an H-1B visa.

Because determining your eligibility is a complicated task, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney. If you have any questions about the H-1B visa, please contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.