What Is The H-1B Visa Cap & Who Is Exempt From The H-1B Cap

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The H-1B Visa cap, enforced by USCIS, has a congressionally mandated limit of 65,000 for the regular pool and an additional 20,000 for the advanced degree. Be aware that not all H-1B nonimmigrant visas are subject to the annual cap.

Who is exempt from the H-1B Cap?

In order to be considered a cap-exempt petition, you must have either been previously counted against the cap or have a position with a cap-exempt employer. Note that certain position with qualified employers are not subject to the H-1B annual quota even if the candidate has not been counted against the cap previously. H1B Visa Process Check UT Evaluators

An employer who is cap exempt generally falls into one of the following categories:

A. Non-profit organization. This is defined by the USCIS as an organization that is “primarily engaged in basic or applied research”

B. Governmental Research Center

C. Institute for Higher Education

Additionally, if you are already an H-1B visa holder and want to transfer employers or extend your status, then you have already been counted against the cap and your petition will be considered cap-exempt.

Keep in mind that transferring your status from one employer to the next has a caveat. If you originally came to the U.S. through a cap-exempt employer, then transferring to another cap-exempt employer is not a problem. However, if you decide to transfer to a cap-subject employer, you will need to go through the lottery process.

That employer will not be able to file until April 3rd, your petition would need to be randomly selected in the cap, and you would not be able to switch employers until October 1st. Essentially, it would be like opening a brand new case. This is to prevent those who would enter the U.S. through a cap-exempt employer just to switch over to a cap-subject employer with the goal of subverting the lottery. For H1B Visa Process Visit here

“H-1B workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam may also be exempt from the H-1B cap (see the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA), Public Law 110-229). H-1B workers in Guam and the CNMI are exempt from the H-1B cap if their employers filed the petition before December 31, 2019. Employers cannot file a petition or an extension request for an employee more than six months before the intended employment start date.” Source

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