UPDATE: H1B Cap Season for FY 2014-15 is over! Check out “The Complete Guide on H1B Visa 2015-16 News, Quota, Lottery Predictions“
The USCIS has continued to follow stricter regulations regarding petitions under the H1B masters quota. In recent years, several masters petitions have been denied because of the applicant’s indicated United States school and unmatched qualifications.As the H1B Cap season for FY 2014-2015 is currently in planning stage, provided below are the requirements for H1B Masters Quota Eligibility regarding the U.S. institution and applicant.
H1B Masters Quota Background
The H1B visa has a general cap of 65,000 for FY 2015. A H1B quota is an annual limit on the available amount of H1B petitions that can be approved a year. Though this is only applicable to applicants who have not been counted towards the cap previously. If the applicant is seeking to file an H1B extension, he/she will not be put against the cap. However, 20,000 of the first H1B petitions received with a US Masters degree or beyond from an eligible institution are granted exemption from the 65,000 quota. The USCIS typically accepts more than the 65,000 cap knowing that some petitions will be denied or withdrawn. There are also 6,800 H-1B1 visas which are specifically allocated to foreign workers from Singapore and Chile annually. Any unused H-1B1 petitions from the prior year are added to the H1B quota and made available to new petitioners.
H1B Masters Cap Eligibility
In order to qualify, applicants with a Masters degree or higher must have received a degree by an accepted U.S. institution. Applicants with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree will not satisfy FY 2015 H1B Masters quota requirements. A foreign degree cannot be applied to the cap either. The U.S. institution in which the applicant holds the higher level degree must meet specific requirements in order to qualify under the masters cap.
H1B Masters Quota Requirements:
- The U.S. institution is obligated to be:
- Public or nonprofit
- Accredited by an acknowledged association or agency
If the U.S. institution is an unaccredited or for-profit school the petition will be denied due to the failure to meet statutory requirements. Also, if the petition has been denied towards the Masters cap for this reason, it will no longer be consider towards the general H1B 65,000 cap either.
However, if the H1B petitioner holds a US Masters level degree from an eligible institution and isn’t selected towards the 20,000 masters cap, he/she may still be counted towards the general 65,000 if the quota has not been filled.