On 3/19/08 USCIS announced an Interim Final Rule on H-1B visas modifying the selection process and prohibiting multiple filings.

The changes cited in the rule include:

  • USCIS will apply a random selection process among all H-1B petitions received during the first five business days of accepting applications for the coming fiscal year (for 2008, all petitions received April 1-7 would be included in the process)
  • USCIS will deny petitions from an employer who files multiple H-1B petitions for the same employee.
    • Note: This rule does not preclude related employers (such as a parent company and its subsidiary) from filing petitions on behalf of the same alien for different positions, based on a legitimate business need., e.g. both need a CFO (see example in supp. info to ITR)
  • USCIS will deny petitions that incorrectly claim an exemption from any H-1B numerical limits.
  • USCIS will not refund fees for any petitions denied as multiple-filings or incorrect claims of exemption.

Additional Guidance

NAFSA participated in a teleconference 03/18/2008 regarding the news release. During the teleconference, USCIS provided the following additional guidance regarding the H-1B process:

  • For a student who has completed all requirements of a degree but not yet received the diploma, will USCIS still follow prior policy of accepting a letter from the institution confirming that s/he has completed all degree requirements?
    • USCIS Response: Yes; USCIS will consider a letter from the institution’s registrar verifying that the student has completed all requirements for the degree at the time of filing.
  • USCIS has stated that best practice is to include separate checks for the separate fees (filing, fraud, premium processing, etc). Will USCIS deny if all of the fees are paid with one check?
    • USCIS Response: No, as long as the total amount is correct; however, our strong preference is that these are separate.