In the past I applied for an H-1B visa, but why did USCIS reject my company’s petition for me?

A “rejection” differs from a “denial.” A rejection means your petition is not being accepted or even reviewed. A denial is when your petition is accepted and reviewed, but USCIS decides that your petition not be approved.

Rejections often happen when payment for the petition is incorrect or lacking. They also happen when a lot of the required documentation is missing. Since we are talking about H-1Bs, rejections usually happen when USCIS receives more H-1B petitions than it could possibly approve.

Why can’t USCIS approve more petitions? Because there is a quota or limit to how many new H-1Bs can be approved every year.

Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council (AIC) wrote a nice article about the issue on the AIC’s website, http://immigrationimpact.com/2016/04/08/h1b-visa-cap-fy-2017/.

She writes that the government begins accepting H-1B petitions on April 1 and that most H-1Bs relate to highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

The quota has a limit of 65,000 spots within an additional 20,000 available for foreign nationals who graduated with a Master’s or Doctorate from a US university.

The problem is that more petitions are received than there are spots or visas available. For example, last year in fiscal year 2015 more than 230,000 petitions were received by USCIS. When H-1B demand is huge, USCIS will only accept petitions for a few days and then it will hold a lottery to pick about 85,000 of the petitions. Petitions not selected are rejected and returned to the petitioners along with the enclosed payment without even looking at the petition.

So, for the above reasons that is why your H-1B may have been rejected.

I believe the United States could benefit from allowing more highly specialized and intelligent people into the country because their work grows the US economy for everyone here. However, allowing more talented foreign nationals into the country is a political issue for the US congress so contact your congressional representatives if you have an opinion you would like to share on any side of the issue.

If you have any questions regarding immigration, please feel free to call me, immigration attorney Shawn Mesa at (813) 679-5780.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk.

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