Q and A On FY 2009 H-1B Filings

Murali Bashyam

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the information in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (Form I-129, page 11) to determine whether a petition is subject to the 65,000 and 20,000 (U.S. master’s degree or higher) H-1B numerical limitation caps. Please be sure to read these questions and answers carefully in advance of completing the petition and filing an H1B case.
Q. When can I file an H-1B Cap petition?
H-1B petitions can be filed six months in advance of the requested start date. Therefore, petitions seeking an October 1, 2008 start date can be filed no sooner than April 1, 2008. This is when the majority of H-1B cap subject petitions are filed. Conversely, petitions that are cap exempt may be filed at any time during the year, dependent on the petitioner’s need.
Q. Where should I mail my H-1B Cap subject petition?
Specific mailing addresses have been established for purposes of identification and processing of H-1B cap subject cases. H1B cap cases should be filed at the Vermont Service Center or the California Service center depending on jurisdiction.  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 not counted against the H-1B numerical limitations.  These cases will be filed at the California Service Center as described in this newsletter.
Q.  What is Premium Processing Service?
For certain employment-based immigration benefits, petitioners may choose to file a Form I-907 with the accompanying filing fee of $1,000 to have their petition adjudicated within 15 calendar days (this fee is in addition to the required base filing and other applicable fees). H-1B petitions are eligible for the Premium Processing program.
The Form I-907 can be filed at the same time as or subsequent to the filing of Form I-129. If filed subsequent to the Form I-129, please be sure to include the receipt number (i.e. EAC 08 123 51234) of the Form I-129 in the pertinent section of Form I-907. Petitioners must use the latest version of Form I-907. Versions prior to August 28, 2006 will not be accepted.  
Q. How do I ensure that my H-1B Cap petition is considered properly filed and accepted?
Be sure to complete all sections of the Form I-129 petition, the H Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (pages 7 and 8 of Form I-129), and the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (pages 10 and 11). Original signatures are required on each form. Send the correct fee amount. 

TipApplicants should use blue ink to sign the petition since this makes it easy for the USCIS to confirm that the signature is an original.

Checks should be payable to the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services dated within the last six months, and include the proper guarantee amount, and signature.
A certified Labor Condition Application (Form ETA 9035) from the Department of Labor must be submitted at the time of filing. A copy of the Labor Condition Application is acceptable. If the Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor is for multiple positions, provide the name, and USCIS case receipt number of any alien who has previously utilized it.
A duplicate copy of the petition must be submitted at the time of filing if the beneficiary will be seeking nonimmigrant visa issuance abroad. Please review the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/ 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.

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