How Long is the Processing Time for an H-1B Visa?


Each year, we see hundreds of thousands of non-U.S. foreign nationals applying for an H-1B visa to work and live in the U.S. If you plan on applying for the H-1B visa, it’s essential to know the key dates, processing times, and limitations involved. Please continue reading to learn how long the processing time is for an H-1B visa and how a knowledgeable Middlesex County, New Jersey, Business Immigration Lawyer can help guide you through this complex process. 

How Are H-1B Visas Processed?

When applying for the H-1B visa, it’s crucial to understand that applications for this specific category are only accepted once a year. The H-1B visa selection process is based on a lottery system. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) understands that the H-1B visa is highly sought-after as annual registrations usually exceed the yearly cap level and the number of available visas. Due to the influx of applications they receive each fiscal year, they have enacted a cap on how many H-1B visas can be issued. The maximum number of visas that can be made available annually is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas available to applications holding a master’s degree. In addition, 6,800 are reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore as part of a species Free Trade Agreement.

It’s crucial to note that the lottery selection system only applies when the number of registrations received exceeds the number of H-1B cap visas available for that fiscal year. This is almost always the case. Therefore, when the registration window is closed, if more registrations are received than visas available that fiscal year, they will carry out the H-1B visa lottery. This random selection is not based on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s no assessment of the merits of the registration at this stage. Instead, it’s merely based on specific odds.

Once the applicants have been selected through this process, they will be notified and invited to submit their complete H-1B visa petition within the specific deadline. Typically, this is 90 days from the motivation. Nevertheless, it’s essential to understand that selection in the visa lottery doesn’t automatically mean a visa will be granted. The petition must still undergo the proper channels to meet the specific requirements and eligibility criteria.

How Long is the Processing Time?

Ultimately, there are several stages to the H-1B visa, each with its time frame. The H-1B process is more complicated than that of other visas. It’s challenging to give an accurate timescale for how long you may have to wait to hear from USCIS. However, the regular H-1B visa processing time varies from two to twelve months. However, for an extra fee, you can expedite the processing time.

For more information about the H-1B visa processing time, please don’t hesitate to contact a skilled New Jersey immigration lawyer from the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC. Our legal team is prepared to help you navigate the process ahead.


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