H-1B Visa – Overview for the FY 20 H-1B Cap/Quota

USCIS will begin accepting H-1B Visa applications for the next fiscal year on April 1st 2019.

Due to the increased analyses required in preparing the H-1B petition, we suggest that employers start preparing the petitions as soon as possible.

Here is an overview of the process that our firm undergoes in preparing an H-1B petition for a fiscal year cap/quota filing:

Step 1: Determine if the position is a specialty occupation.

A specialty occupation basically means that the industry standard minimum degree requirement is at least a Bachelor Degree in a Specific Field.

If you are unsure if your position qualifies as a specialty occupation, you can check the OOH Handbook.

Select the occupation, then select “How to Become One”.

It should clearly state that that the minimum degree requirement is at least a Bachelor Degree in a Specific Field.

Here is a short video showing how to do this.

Step 2: Determine the Prevailing Wage.

The prevailing wage is the minimum wage that the employer is required to pay the H-1B employee.

You can look up the prevailing wage here. Here is short video on how to navigate flcdatacenter.com.

The prevailing wage level is based on the employer’s minimum requirements for the position.

Here is a guide on what prevailing wage to expect, based on the employer’s minimum requirements for the position:

Bachelor Degree and 2 years (or less) of experience should result in a Level 1 prevailing wage.

Bachelor Degree and 3 years of experience should result in a Level 2 prevailing wage.

Bachelor Degree and 4 years of experience should result in a Level 3 prevailing wage.

Bachelor Degree and 5 years of experience should result in a Level 4 prevailing wage.

Master Degree and no experience required should result in a Level 1 prevailing wage.

Master Degree and 1 year of of experience required should result in a Level 2 prevailing wage.

If you are unsure of the prevailing wage, you may file a prevailing wage request here. Processing time is currently 100 days.

Step 3: File the LCA (Labor Condition Application).

If you haven’t already, you (the employer) should register an account with the iCERT Visa Portal System.

You, the employer, will then complete the online Labor Condition Application.

The LCA is an attestation by the employer that they will comply with the required wages and benefits, working conditions, labor disputes and public notice.

The employer must provide notice to U.S. workers within 30 days prior to the LCA filing.

Once the LCA has been filed, it normally takes 7 days to be certified by the DOL.

Step 4: Prepare the USCIS Form I-129.

USCIS Form I-129 is completed by the employer.

The I-129 Form is used for other visa petitions, so the employer is only required to complete page 1-8, 13-14, and 19-21.

Step 5: Gather the Required Supporting Documents.

From the Employer:

Copy of the Job Offer Letter containing the Job Title and Salary Offered
Job Description and Requirements (must say at least Bachelor Degree in specified field is required) on Company Letterhead
Copy of most recent Audited Financial Statement or Federal Income Tax Return
Organizational Chart
A Company Brochure and/or any marketing material, if available
Copy of Articles of Incorporation, if available

From the Beneficiary (Foreign National)

Copy of all U.S. visas
Copy of most recent I-94 (from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/)
Copy of I-797 Approval Notices (Previous & Current)
Copy of unexpired passport picture page
Copy of Resume
Copies of University Diplomas
Copies of Transcripts from University Degrees
Copy of State Medical or Teaching License, if applicable
Copy of Academic Evaluation of Foreign Degree, if available
Copies of letters of experience from previous employers, if available
If F-1 or F-2 Visa Holder, copy of I-20
If on Optional Practical Training, copy of EAD Card (both sides)
If J-1 or J-2 Visa Holder, copy of DS-2019

Step 6: Write the Petition Letter

The petition letter is written by the employer and includes the following elements:

IntroductionDescription of BusinessPosition Description

Here is a sample H-1B USCIS petition letter.

Step 7: Assemble the petition for filing

Assemble the petition in the following order:

I-129, completed, signed and dated

USCIS check stapled to page 1 of the I-129

Certified and signed LCA

USCIS Petition Letter, signed.

Above documentation from the Employer

Above documentation from the Beneficiary (Foreign National)

Step 8: File the H-1B petition with USCIS

USCIS has indicated that it will accept FY 20 cap H-1B petitions the first 5 business days of April 2019.

April 1st, 2019 is a Monday, so you could ship the petition on Friday March 29th with a requested delivery date of Monday April 1st, 2019.

The USCIS filing addresses are based on the location of the company address, as listed on the I-129.

Step 9: Hearing back from USCIS

USCIS will normally hold the random lottery after the 5th business day of April.

USCIS will first mail I-797 receipts to those petitioners who have been selected in the lottery.

USCIS will then return the “rejected” non-selected petitions to the petitioner (employer).




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