The H-1B filing period comes around only once a year and the cap is quickly reached. When filing your petition, it’s important to get things right the first time to avoid crucial delays which could disqualify your petition.
In over 20 years of helping companies file H-1B visa petitions, I have seen the same mistakes again and again. Here are the most common ones you need to avoid, which could prove fatal to your petition.
Most Common H-1B Petition Errors
- When filing your H-1B petition, it’s important to choose the correct USCIS Service Center. Services Centers are located in California, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, and the Potomac. If you’ll have training or temporary employment in a different location from your company’s headquarters, chose the USCIS Service Center for the state in which your company is headquartered. To determined which service center to utilize click on the appropriate state at: USCIS Service and Office Locator
- Once you’ve identified the correct processing location, it’s important to use an appropriate delivery method for your petition. One of the methods USCIS locations use to protect their security is only accepting deliveries from the United States Postal Service or bonded private couriers such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Choose one of these methods to deliver your petition and avoid couriers which aren’t bonded and hand delivery.
- Before you ship your petition, it’s imperative that you enclose appropriate filing fees in the correct form. Bank drafts, certified checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, and personal checks must be in U.S. funds and drawn on a U.S. financial institution. Dates written on checks should be written in the U.S. format of month/day/year. Checks written must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with no abbreviations. USCIS also accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover in all domestic field offices.
- On the form itself, avoid typos and minor errors. Proofread for accuracy and clarity. Be sure to have consistent information throughout. For example, if it is specified that the beneficiary is not subject to the cap, do not write “regular cap” on the top of your petition. This could delay processing.
- Ensure that the correct occupation code has been selected on your Labor Conditions Application. Code errors could delay processing.
- Ensure that all relevant signatures are in place on the form I-129. Sign in blue ink so the signatures on the original are readily discernable from those on the duplicate of the petition. (USCIS increased efficiency to I-129 forms)
- Your petition must be received before the random computer selection of H-1B petitions which will be used to fill the cap. Submitting the petition before April 1st, or after the first few days of April, could disqualify your petition from being considered.
- To obtain an H-1B visa, your educational background and job offer must qualify. The employer should submit a labor condition application to the Department of Labor ensure the job qualifies, and transcripts should be obtained (and translated if need be) to verify that the applicant possesses the appropriate degree.
- Submit a duplicate copy of the petition and all supporting documents. It is required that the H-1B filing be submitted in duplicate to be processed and adjudicated.
Working cooperatively with your employer and legal counsel to ensure that all H-1B petitions, supporting documents, and labor certifications are submitted appropriately is the best way to increase your chances of being selected in the H-1B lottery and having your petition processed in a timely manner.