Time to Prepare for the H-1B Visa Lottery

As we enter the new year, Taft’s immigration attorneys encourage employers to identify current and future employees who will need H-1B visa status in 2018.

The filing period for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota for fiscal year (FY) 2019 will begin on April 1, 2018. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept petitions for FY 2019 beginning April 2, 2018, and only until the H-1B quota is met. Based on previous experience, we anticipate the quota will be reached within the first week of April. 

Once reached (unless the petition is selected in the lottery and approved), employers will have to wait until April 1, 2019, to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions for employment to begin on Oct. 1, 2019. This does not include H-1B extensions. Individuals at issue may include F-1 students who are currently working on Optional Practical Training, L-1B employees who may be offered a permanent position in the U.S., employees currently working on an H-4 EAD card and/or TN employees who wish to begin the green card process.

There is no way to predict when this year’s H-1B quota will be exhausted, so all cap-subject H-1B petitions must be mailed on March 30, 2018, for delivery to the USCIS on Monday, April 2, 2018. To do so, employers must first file and receive certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA), which can take several weeks to prepare and process. An H-1B petition cannot be submitted without a certified LCA.

Taft’s immigration attorneys can assist with H-1B petitions or immigration issues. Please contact Antonia Mitroussia or Jennifer Snead to learn more.

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