USCIS Accepts First Time H-1B Applications on March 1, 2022
US Citizenship & Immigration Service announced that it will accept initial applications for first time H-1B visa petitions from March 1, 2022 until March 18, 2022. An H-1B visa allows an employer to employ a foreign national in a “specialty occupation” or a position that requires a bachelor’s degree in a particular field. This visa is commonly used by employers who employ foreign national college or university students during their education period, while on a student visa that allows them to work, and wish to continue to employ them after graduation, beyond the expiration of their student status.
The Immigration and Nationality Act limits the number of initial H-1 visas that are issued every year. The law allows the issuance of 85,000 initial H-1 visas with 20,000 of those visas reserved for individuals who hold a graduate degree issued from a United States university.
H-1B visas are very popular. Every year USCIS receives many more applications for H-1 visas than the quota. As such, USCIS accepts applications during this initial filing period and then conducts a lottery. USCIS will notify the winners of the lottery in late March. Winners of this lottery will then have 90 days to prepare and file an H-1 petition with USCIS. Once (and assuming that) the visa petition is approved, the visa will be issued on October 1, 2022. In the event USCIS does not approve 85,000 visas in that 90-day period, it will conduct a second chance draw in August.
Employers who are presently employing recent university graduates using an F-1 Optional Partitional Training or STEM Optional Practical Training Employment Authorization Document and wish to continue to employ this individual after their employment card expires should file an application for an H-1 visa during this filing window.