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The 2017 H-1B petition filing season is here! To maximize your chance of success, you need to prepare now. Starting April 3, USCIS will accept H-1B visa petition filings – subject to the annual cap – for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2017.

To maximize the chance that your petition will be accepted in this year’s anticipated lottery, we strongly recommend that H-1B visa petitions subject to the cap be ready to be filed in March.

If you have trouble getting a license for your H-1B, a new rule should provide some relief.

In some cases, H-1B beneficiaries have trouble getting a license, because the licensing board won’t issue it until they can provide work authorization, a social security number, or a similar technical requirement. However, they cannot get these items without first having the H-1B approval. It puts these professionals in a seemingly impossible situation.

Fortunately, the new High-Skilled Workers rule provides a solution. If you have this type of technical problem, you can file without a license and be approved for an H-1B with up to one year validity. Then you can file for an extension and show proof of your license to be approved for the remaining years.

The new rule provides another important opportunity when it comes to licensing. You may be granted H-1B status if you can provide evidence that demonstrates you may fully perform the job duties under the supervision of a licensed professional.

However, the new rule added that “USCIS shall examine the nature of the duties and the level at which they are performed, as well as evidence provided by the petitioner as to the identity, physical location, and credentials of the individual(s) who will supervise the alien, and evidence that the petitioner is complying with state requirements.”

Prior to this rule, we have been successful with many entry level architects, engineers and similarly situated professionals in filing H-1B petitions utilizing licensing exemptions allowing for training under the supervision of a licensed professional.  We are happy to see this new rule, which we hope will make for more consistent adjudication.