USCIS to accept H1-B visa petitions starting on April 1

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service recently announced that it would begin accepting H1-B visa petitions for fiscal 2012 on April 1, 2011.

The H1-B visa program is used by businesses in America to hire foreign workers with a specialty expertise, such as scientists and engineers.

The USCIS said that the applications will be processed once they are considered complete, which means that all documentation has been properly filed and the fee has been paid. The applications will not be processed from the date of their postmark.

There are 65,000 H1-B visas for the fiscal year 2012, but the first 20,000 applicants who have a US master’s degree or higher will be exempt from this number.

In addition, there are a number of other reasons why applicants will be exempt from the 65,000 cap, including if they are employed by institutions of higher learning, government research organizations or nonprofit research groups.

The USCIS said that it will monitor the status of the H1-B petition numbers and inform the public when the 65,000 cap has been reached.