New Delhi: Petitions for H1-B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, will be accepted from April 2, a federal agency announced on Tuesday.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services also announced the suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The H-1B petition filing is for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018.
The H1-B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
The suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps is expected to last until September 10, 2018. During this time, the USCIS said it will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the fiscal 2019 cap.
“We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates,” it said.
As an H-1B non-immigrant, the applicant may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years. However, there are some exceptions to it.
At the same time, the USCIS said while premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the expedited criteria.