If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that H-1B season is here again. Below are some FAQs about the H-1B process.

1. Q: When can I begin filing for H-1B status?
A: USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2013.

2. Q: When should my prospective employer file my H-1B petition?
A: The application should probably be ready for submission to USCIS by April 1st of this year (2013). If you have never held H-1B status you will be subject to the H-1B cap of 65,000 available visas (There are also an additional 20,000 H-1Bs available for those who hold Masters Degrees from US institutions). If your employer does not file on your behalf before the 65,000 visas have been taken this year, your employer would have to wait the following year before it could file on your behalf again. In many circumstance, this would mean that you will have to return home when your current status expires and file the following year while living overseas. Realistically, this only becomes a problem when there is high demand for H-1B visas. When we were in the height of the recession it took several months for all 65,000 H-1B visas to be used up. As the economy has gotten better over the past couple of years, the visas have been used up much quicker. Last year, all of the H-1Bs were taken by June 11, 2012 (roughly two and one half months). There is much speculation that this year all 65,000 H1B visas will be taken by April 1, 2013. The first day that USCIS accepts H1B petitions!

3. Q: If I already have an H-1B visa and want to switch employers am I subject to the 65,000 cap?
A: No, you are not. If you currently hold an H-1B and are changing employers, your initial H-1B was counted towards the cap and a change in H-1B employers will not subject you to the cap again. However, if you have used up all six years of your time in H-1B status, you may need to leave the US for a period of one year before filing for H-1B status again and also be subject to the cap at that time. You should talk to an immigration attorney to see if this applies to you!

4. Q: If I want to file an H-1B petition, when should I talk to an attorney?
A: The attorney will probably need to discuss your case with you, review your documents (resume, diploma, etc.), file a labor condition application in advance of filing the H1B and perform other tasks relevant to your H-1B. As April 1 draws closer, your attorney will probably be dealing with more and more clients and be under severe time constraints. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible regarding the filing of an H-1B visa. Ideally, you would have already contact the attorney back in early February. As long as there are visa available though, it’s probably not too late to contact an immigration attorney.

5. Q: Can you help me file an H-1B petition?
A: Of course! Call (404) 593-0434 to schedule a consultation or use the contact form to email and schedule a consultation with Atlanta immigration attorney Rahim Dhanani.

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