New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

What Is the H-1B Visa Cap?

Author: US Visa Attorney Alena Shautsova

An H-1 B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits employers to hire foreign workers with specialty occupation skills on a temporary basis. When the sponsoring employer dismisses the worker or the worker quits, workers must apply for a status change to remain legally in the United States. Status change often means applying for another non-immigrant status. Examples of specialty occupations for an H-1B visa include the following:

  • Accounting
  • Arts
  • Business specialties
  • Architecture
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Health and medicine
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Physical sciences
  • Theology

H1-B visas operate on quotas, which limit the number of foreign workers capable of working in the United States every year. The H1-B visa caps at 65,000 workers a year who can obtain H1-B status.

As of the 2004 fiscal year, an additional 20,000 additional visas were allowed for workers with advanced degrees (Master's degree or higher) and these were exempt from the annual 65,000 cap. On April 5, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received enough H1-B visa petitions to reach the statutory cap for the 2014 fiscal year and received more than the 20,000 H-1B petitions for the advanced degree exemption. H-1B visa applications are no longer being accepted for 2014. The USCIS employs a lottery system, which is a computerbased random selection to choose the petitions for the 2014 H1-B cap or advanced degree exemption category.

If you run into problems with your H-1 B status or decide to pursue an immigrant visa, find out how a New York visa lawyer can help.

18 April 2013
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