What is the H-1b Visa Program?
This visa allows a foreign employee with a bachelor’s degree or higher work for an organization or company in the United States. It is awarded for an initial period of 3 years with a possibility of extending for another 3 years.
What is the H-1b annual cap?
The H1B visa is capped at 65,000 slots for people with the required skills and qualifications. There is an additional 20,000 for individuals who have a master’s degree and higher. Due to the vast number of applications, a lottery system is used to award the visa to qualified applicants. These petitions must be filed in April for employment to begin in October of the same year.
What is the H-1b cap exemption?
Certain organizations are exempt from the cap described above. This means that these organizations can apply at any time for the H-1b visa. If the candidate/employee qualifies, they will be awarded a visa without using the lottery system.
Who are H-1b Cap Exempt Employers?
Institutions of higher education (e.g., Universities)
Non-profit organization-related or affiliated with an institution of higher education
Non-profit research organization
Government research organization
What does this mean for international students and professionals?
For international students who are interested in applying for the H-1b visa, targeting positions at organizations who are cap-exempt can increase your chances of getting an H-1b visa by:
Exempting you from the lottery system and the cap
Allowing your organization to petition for your H-1b visa at any time of the year