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H1B Filing Season 2017: Avoid Rejection by USCIS, Important Dates and Deadlines, Filing Locations FAQs

6,596 views 12 comments
posted Jan 22, 2016 in H1B Visas by dan (24,624 points)

I am sure most of you have received H1B Job offers from H1B sponsors for the upcoming H1B Filing season. Please keep the following dates and deadlines in mind to ensure a proper and timely filing of your H1B Petition. 

I wish all the H1B Aspirants good luck with the H1B Lottery and a smooth H1B process (I hope there will be no lottery!) 

It is also VERY important to ensure that your H1B petition will reach USCIS on-time and at the appropriate location of a USCIS Service center. The USCIS H1B filing locations/addresses are usually  based on your work location in the United States.

Although there are several USCIS Service Centers in the United States, USCIS accepts H1B Petitions only at the California Service Center and the Vermont Service Center.

H1B Aspirants with US Master’s Degree: There are separate USCIS addresses for H1B Aspirants holding a United States Maters Degree from a Public or Not-Profit University, who are eligible under the H1B Master's Cap.

If you hold a Master’s Degree from a “FOR-PROFIT” University, please note that you may not qualify for an H1B under the US Master’s Cap. Foregoing the fact, If your H1B Employer attempts to file under H1B Master’s cap and if your H1B is accepted processing, USCIS will most likely deny the H1B petition when they review the H1B petition, which results in losing the entire fee and unwanted frustration, please be careful.

Assuming there will be a Lottery this year; it's in your best interest to ensure that your H1B is NOT rejected due to an improper filing even before it hits the lottery stage. The H1B filing is complex and requires experience and knowledge of US Immigration Laws. It is always a good idea to retain services of an experienced Immigration Attorney.

Read Related Article: H1B Visa Application Process and H1B Lottery Predictions 2017 

Dates and Deadlines – The Table below shows approximate dates to ensure a proper and timely filing of your H1B Visa Petition with the USCIS.

Target Dates

Milestones

January 01, 2016 to February 15, 2016

Apply for H1B Jobs and find H1B Sponsoring Companies

February 15, 2016 to February 28, 2016

Receive offer letters from Employers and submit H1B Documentation to Employer/Attorney

March 01, 2016 to March 10, 2016

H1B Employer Reviews Documentation and obtains Foreign Academic Evaluation for Candidates with overseas Education

March 10, 2016 to March 15, 2016

H1B Employer/Attorney files Labor Condition Application with USDOL. 

Read Related Article: How an LCA is filed for a New H1B and H1B Visa Transfer?

March 15, 2016 to March 30, 2016

H1B Employer/Attorney prepares the H1B Package

March 31, 2016 Onwards

H1B Employer/Attorney ships the H1B Package to USCIS


Illustration of the H1B Process for 2017

How to ensure your H1B petition is not rejected by USCIS!

The H1B petition should be filed using latest I-129 Forms to avoid rejection by USCIS.

H1B Employers/Attorneys should use the latest version OR prior versions of the Form I-129 Petition for a Non-Immigrant worker that are still accepted by USCIS to properly file the H1B Visa Petition or the H1B Petition will be rejected. 

Many employers re-use old I-129 forms or old software to easily populate data, ignoring to check form revisions from USCIS. Please ensure that they use the latest version of the Form I-129. 

TIP: Request a copy of the completed I-129 form from your Employer before the H1B Package is sent to USCIS. You may cross check your personal data for errors along with Form I-129 version.

As of writing this Article, USCIS accepts I-129 Versions dated 08/13/15, 03/26/15 and 10/23/14. Please note that forms are subject to revision, please check versions at USCIS website LINK

The H1B petition must be properly signed by Employer and Attorney (if any) at all required locations of forms and other documents!

Your H1B Employer/Attorney MUST ensure that they properly file the H1B Petition with signatures on all required I-129 Form Pages including LCA (Labor Condition Application). If any signatures on the Forms or any pages of the forms or LCA is missing; USCIS will reject the application irrespective of there is a lottery or not!

How many Signatures are usually required by the H1B Employer?

Description

Total Signatures

Form I-129 

4 (Four)

LCA

1 (One)

Check for Fee Payment

1 (One) Signature per check. One or multiple checks must be signed.

Cover Letter

1 (One)

Itinerary of Services

1 (One)

Form I-907 (If Premium Processing)

1 (One)

Attorney (If Represented)

2 (Two)

H1B Petition must be sent with the Proper filing fee!

If your H1B Petition is sent without a proper filing fee, USCIS will immediately reject the application. Please see below for fees associated with H1B Filing based on Employer Size.

H1B Cost Calculator

USCIS Fee for H1B Petitions

Less than 25 Employees  $1,825.00 

More than 25 Employees  $2,325.00

More than 50 Employees  $ 6325.00

PLUS  $1225.00 if Premium Processing service is used.

H1B Employers with more than 50 Employees like IT Consulting Companies, whose H1 or L1 workforce in the United States is more than 50 percent, they are required to pay an additional fee of $4,000.00. This increase was enacted on December 19, 2015, and signed by President Obama. If the H1 L1 work-force is less than 50 percent of their workforce (even if the employer has 1000 Employees); they are not subject to $4000.00 additional fee. 

Read Related Article News: Fee Increase for H1B and L1 Goes into Effect from December 18, 2015

Where to send the H1B Package (USCIS Service Center)?

This depends on your work location as listed on the LCA, it could be your employer office location or a client location. Your H1B must be sent to proper service center and address based on your work location or USCIS will reject the H1B Petition.

USCIS California Service Center 

Your H1B Employer/Attorney should File Form I-129 with the California Service Center if you will be employed in any of the following States: 

Alaska, Kansas, Utah, Arizona, Michigan, Washington, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Guam, Nebraska, Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho, North Dakota, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Oregon, Iowa, South Dakota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands    

USCIS Vermont Service Center Filings

Your H1B Employer/Attorney should File Form I-129 with the Vermont Service Center if you will be employed in any of the following States:

Alabama, New Mexico, Arkansas, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Delaware, Oklahoma, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maine,Texas, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts,Virginia, Mississippi, U.S.Virgin Islands, New Hampshire, West Virginia, New Jersey

California Service Center 

Petition Type

Regular Mailing

Address for Courier

Regular H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

USCIS

California Service Center

ATTN: I-129

P.O. Box 10129

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1012

(Note the nonimmigrant classification requested in the attention line)

USCIS

California Service Center

ATTN: I-129

24000 Avila Road

2nd Floor, Room 2312

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

(Note the nonimmigrant classification requested in the attention line)

Premium Processing I-129/I-907 Packages

Premium Processing Service

USCIS

California Service Center

ATTN: I-129

P.O. Box 10825

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607

(Note the nonimmigrant classification requested in the attention line.)

Premium Processing Service

USCIS

California Service Center

ATTN: I-129

24000 Avila Road

2nd Floor, Room 2312

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

(Note the nonimmigrant classification requested in the attention line.)

Vermont Service Center           

Petition Type

Regular & Courier Mailing

Premium Processing I-129/I-907 Packages

H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

USCIS

Vermont Service Center

ATTN: H-1B Cap

4 Lemnah Drive

St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

Premium Processing Service

USCIS

Vermont Service Center

ATTN: H-1B Cap

30 Houghton Street

St. Albans, VT 05478-2399

H-1B U.S. Master's Cap Petitions

 USCIS

Vermont Service Center

ATTN: H-1B U.S. Master's Cap

4 Lemnah Drive

St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

Premium Processing Service

USCIS

Vermont Service Center

ATTN: H-1B U.S. Master's Cap

30 Houghton Street

St. Albans, VT 05478-2399

Please stay on top of the deadlines above, please let me know if I missed anything by posting your comments!

Please comment with any questions you may have, I will be more than happy to assist you during your H1B journey!

12 Comments

commented Jan 22, 2016 by anonymous
Excellent! This is such a thoroughly writing article, exactly what I am looking for. Thank you so, so much!
replied Jan 26, 2016 by dan (24,624 points)
Thank you and good luck!
replied May 15, 2017 by aftabkhan

 Reasons to avoid rejection by USCIS, Important dates and deadlines mentioned in this article. Some questions related to it also contain here. I actually need grademiners legit but this will be good for those who direct or indirect related to this issue.

commented Feb 5, 2016 by anonymous
Nice article with detailed explanation. I would like add one should be careful in choosing the employer if you are filing a new H1-B application. as mentioned in this article  http://www.ajacsolutions.com/h1b/ there are possibilities of fraud by employers.
replied Mar 20, 2016 by dan (24,624 points)
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commented Mar 28, 2016 by Mike
Quick question. What should the signature date be. We're sending the completed package for April 1 delivery. But can the date be before April 1? Thank you
replied Mar 28, 2016 by dan (24,624 points)
It can be March 31, they go based on receipt date!
commented Jun 7, 2016 by anonymous

Can the employer ships the H1B Package to USCIS after March,31?

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