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Your employer will need to file your H-1B petition while the cap window is open, which begins on the first business day in April of the year that you wish to work. Because the USCIS will not accept your petition earlier and the cap usually ends as soon as the the cap is filled (if the cap is filled in less than a week, then the cap will close 7 days later), you likely want to get your petition in exactly on that first business day of April.

Here is a quick rundown of the process that takes place once the H-1B cap has been reached:

A. The USCIS monitors the H-1B filings and determines the date of when it has received enough petitions to reach the congressional cap.

B. Once the date is determined, the H-1B petitions received by the USCIS on that date will be put through the computer to randomly select the petitions. Check for H1B Visa Process here

C. The 20,000 petitions will be randomly selected from those that were entered into the master’s cap. Those that were not selected will be re-entered into the regular cap.

D. The 65,000 petitions for the regular cap will be randomly selected.

E. The H-1B petitions not selected by the computer generator will be rejected and returned with a refund of the submitted filing fees.

F. Petitioners are able to re-submit H-1B petitions at the next available period (i.e. the next fiscal year).

Any H-1B petitions received after the determined USCIS date will be rejected, unless the petition is not subject to the H-1B quota.

In some instances, an individual may be better suited to file for an L1 visa. While there are distinct differences between the two, L1 visas share some similarities to H-1B visas.

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