USCIS will begin accepting H-1B Visa applications for FY 2013-2014 cap subject petitions beginning April 1, 2013. The USCIS anticipates that the H1B annual quota (cap) for fiscal year 2014 (FY 2013-14) could be finished by April 5, 2013.

If you intend to file an H1-B cap-subject petition then we at SGM Law Group recommend that you begin the process now since USCIS is anticipating that both the regular and advanced degree cap could get filled up as soon as April 5, 2013. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, USCIS will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit.

To elaborate further, USCIS expects that more than 20,000 petitions will be filed for individuals with a U.S. Masters Degree or higher and more than 65,000 petitions for those individuals who fall under the regular cap.

For the last Fiscal Year of 2013 the cap was reached around June 15, 2012 which was way earlier than the previous year (FY 2012) when the cap was open until November 2011. When economy was going through a slump in the years 2009-2011 the H1-B cap was open for at least six months and sometimes even longer.

H1-B petitions require a bona fide job offer and a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a related field. The process entails filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL takes between 7-10 days to certify the LCA. It’s only after the LCA is certified for the intended period of employment, can an H1-B petition be filed with USCIS.

USCIS has further indicated that given the high number of H1-B petitions that are expected this year, Premium Processing of H1-B cases will commence on April 15, 2013.