H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Cap Season
The H-1B Program
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.
For more information about the H-1B program, see the link to the left under temporary workers for H-1B Specialty Occupations and Fashion Models.
How USCIS Determined if an H-1B Petition is Subject to the FY 2012 Cap
We used the information provided in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (Form I-129, pages 17 through 19) to determine whether a petition was subject to the 65,000 H-1B numerical limitation (the “cap”). Some petitions were exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Unless otherwise exempt from the cap, petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.
FY 2012 H-1B Cap Count
On November 22, 2011, USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the statutory cap for FY 2012. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption as of October 19, 2011. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2012 that are received after November 22, 2011.
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
How to Ensure USCIS Considers Your Petition Properly Filed
As noted above, USCIS continues to accept H-1B petitions that are not subject to annual numerical limitations, (e.g. H-1B amended petitions, H-1B extensions for individuals who have already been counted against the cap within the last six years, etc.), DOD petitions and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012.
Please comply with the following to ensure that your petition is properly filed:
Note: It is your responsibility to ensure that Form I-129 is completed accurately. Failure to complete Form I-129 with the correct information and provide the required fees or documentation may result in the rejection or denial of the H-1B petition.
Additionally, be sure to file the petition at the correct USCIS Service Center. See section below on “Where to Mail Your H-1B Petition.”
Additional Documents Required With Your Petition
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
You must submit a certified Department of Labor (DOL) LCA (Form ETA 9035) at the time of filing your petition. A copy of the LCA is acceptable.
Note: USCIS encourages petitioners to keep DOL LCA processing times in mind when preparing the H-1B petition and plan accordingly. If the LCA certified by DOL is for multiple positions, you must provide the name and USCIS case receipt number of any alien who has previously utilized the LCA.
Petitioners should ensure that they have signed the LCA prior to the LCA being submitted with the petition to USCIS.
Please see Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification website for further information on the LCA process.
Evidence of Beneficiary’s Educational Background
You must submit evidence of the beneficiary’s educational degree at the time of filing. If all of the requirements for the degree have been met, but the degree has not yet been awarded, the following alternate evidence may be submitted:
If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, please provide substantiating evidence at time of filing.
A Duplicate Copy of the H-1B Petition
You must submit a duplicate copy of your H-1B petition at the time of filing if the beneficiary will be seeking nonimmigrant visa issuance abroad. USCIS will not make a second copy if one is not provided.
You may also choose to submit a duplicate copy of the petition, even if the beneficiary is requesting a change of status to H-1B or an extension of stay in case the beneficiary later decides to seek visa issuance abroad or the H-1B petition is approved but the beneficiary’s concurrent change of status or extension of stay request is denied.
You may review the Department of State website to make sure that the consulate indicated on Form I-129 is able to process the beneficiary’s nonimmigrant visa application and for any other consulate-specific special instructions.
Multiple or Duplicative Filings
On March 19, 2008, USCIS announced an interim final rule on H-1B visas to prohibit employers from filing multiple or duplicative H-1B visas for the same employee. To ensure fair and orderly distribution of available H-1B visas, USCIS will deny or revoke multiple or duplicative petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions.
Where to Mail Your H-1B Petition
You must file your petition at the correct Service Center depending on the jurisdiction of the H-1B beneficiary’s work location(s) as specified in the petition. We have established specific mailing addresses for purposes of identification and processing of H-1B cases.
To determine which jurisdiction you are in, see our Web page Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.
Note: A separate mailing address has been established for certain types of educational or nonprofit organizations which file H-1B petitions on behalf of beneficiaries that are exempt from the H-1B numerical limitations.
Please read the filing instructions very carefully. If you file your petition incorrectly, we will reject the petition. Rejected petitions will not retain a filing date.
There are different fees depending on the type of H-1B petition you are submitting. Please refer to H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (pages 17-19 of Form I-129) for detailed instructions on fees.
The following fees may be required with an H-1B petition:
Base filing fee:
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee:
(see H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement, Part B):
Fraud Prevention and Detection fee:
Public Law 111-230:
Premium Processing fee:
Make checks payable to the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, dated within the last 6-months, and include the proper guarantee amount and signature.
Money orders must be properly endorsed.
Non-payable Checks or Other Financial Instruments
USCIS will reject all applications or petitions submitted with the incorrect filing fee. Rejected petitions and petitions in which the check or other financial instrument used to pay the filing fee is returned as non-payable will not retain a filing date. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(7)(i).
While petitioners are generally provided the opportunity to correct a fee deficiency, pursuant to the regulations, the filing date is not established until and unless the fee deficiency has been corrected.
Premium Processing Service
H-1B petitions are eligible for the Premium Processing Service. Petitioners may choose to file a Request for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907) to have their petition processed within 15 calendar days. To request premium processing submit:
You can file the Form I-907 and corresponding fee:
If filed after the Form I-129, be sure to include the receipt number (e.g., EAC 11 123 51234) of the Form I-129 in the pertinent section of Form I-907.
Note: We will only accept the 08/10/09N (or later) edition of Form I-907.
Please see the link to the right for more information concerning the Premium Processing program.
Organizing your H-1B package
A separate check for each applicable filing fee (Form I-129, Premium Processing, Fraud Fee, ACWIA fee, and Public Law 111-230) is preferred. Applicable fees should be stapled to the bottom right corner of the top document.
Preferred order of documents at time of submission:
How to mail multiple petitions together
If multiple petitions will be included in the same courier service or Post Office package, please place individual petitions into separate envelopes within the package.
Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative
If the petitioner will be represented by an attorney or other accredited representative, a properly executed Form G-28 should be submitted. Each Form G-28 should include the following:
Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
H Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (pages 11 and 12 of Form I-129)
H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Supplement form (pages 17 through 19 of Form I-129)
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing
This page can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count