H-1B Filing Tips: preliminary mistakes that might cause the rejection of an H-1B petition
When filing an H-1B petition, there is a series of mistakes that might cause the petition to be rejected by USCIS before even getting to the infamous lottery. These mistakes are often overlooked and cause every year the rejection/denial of many petitions. However, they can be avoided with just a little bit of attention in the preparation and filing of the petition. To avoid these mistakes, it is crucial to:
- File all the right forms (i.e.: I-129 and supplements, I-907 if needed, and so on) and the right version of the forms. USCIS updates forms quite often. Therefore, one must look at the revision date at the bottom of the form and check on the USCIS website which is the version to be used.
- Submit only forms with original signatures, preferably in blue ink.
- Submit only a certified Labor Condition Application, or LCA (which takes at least 7 days to obtain). It might happen that one submit an uncertified or unprocessed LCA because an LCA can be printed before it is completed or certified, and thus one may send it by mistake. At the bottom, the LCA should say “certified.”
- Include the correct amount of filing fees. Fees’ amount may change based on the size of the employer and if one files for premium processing.
- Pay the filing fees with a correct method of payment. I.e. cash is not accepted. All fees must be paid by check or money order drawn on a bank located in the U.S. and must be payable in U.S. Dollars. The check or money order must be dated within the last six months and payable to the “Department of Homeland Security” (rather than to “DHS” or “USDHS”).
- File timely! Due to the low cap for the H-1B Visa and to the high demand for foreign workers, it is imperative the H-1B application package arrive at the USCIS center on April 1, the opening day of the acceptance period for H-1B petitions.
- Make sure that the start date of employment is not before October 1st, otherwise USCIS may think that one is filing for the previous year and deny the petition based on the fact that the cap has been reached.
- Use an acceptable method of delivery for the H-1B petition. Due to security concerns, packages are only accepted using specific delivery methods indicated by USCIS. I.e., packages sent via couriers that are not bonded, packages that are hand-delivered or that were delivered via taxi-cab will be rejected. United States Postal Service and Private Couriers that are bonded (DHL, FedEx, UPS), are generally considered acceptable methods of delivery.
- File the petition in the right location. There are two service centers for H-1B Visas: Vermont Service Center and California Service Center. Additionally, in the same center there are different addresses. These addresses are different based on the type of filing (“Master Quota” vs. “Regular Quota”) and on the type of processing (Premium vs. regular processing). If sent to the wrong place, USCIS will reject the petition and won’t include it in the lottery. All filing locations can be found on the USCIS website.