The USCIS is to begin accepting applications for H-1B visas on April 1, 2015. Though there are 65,000 visas available through this program, it is well-known for its tendency to run out in a month or less.
H-1B visas are issued to foreign workers who are highly skilled or educated in a specific field such as engineering or computer science. These visas are known as being dual-intent, meaning that a person can come into the U.S. as a nonimmigrant with a H-1B visa and eventually apply for permanent residency.
Dual-intent is considered very unusual in the United States’ immigration system as most nonimmigrant applicants have to show that they will only remain in the U.S. for a temporary period of time in order to receive a visa in the first place.
Because of the high volume of registrants early on in the application period, the USCIS sometimes has to use a lottery system. If within the first five days of the application period, the USCIS receives enough applications, they will randomly select recipients of the visa. This means that the program is first-come-first-serve only up to a point. It is very important that applicants send their petitions in as soon as possible, but that does not guarantee a visa.
Applicants with master’s or doctoral degrees are given somewhat preferential treatment as the first 20,000 of these applicants are exempt from the overall 65,000 visa cap.
The H-1B visa program is probably the most popular work-related immigration visa program in the United States. Many employers help their employees get these visas as their skills are considered necessary in the United States.