Friday, March 12, 2010

Prepare your cap-subject H-1Bs ASAP - LCA delays possible

USCIS will accept H-1B petitions for the Fiscal Year 2011 starting on April 1, 2010. In the past, it was possible to prepare and file a petition in a matter of days or less, so we were able to file petitions with very little noce in emergencies. This is no longer possible, because the Department of Labor has changed the procedure for certifying Labor Condition Applications (LCAs). LCAs are filed electronically and used to be certified almost instantly. Now it takes a week or more to get an approved LCA, and the H-1B petition cannot be filed without an approved LCA. 

For a few months, from November 5, 2009 to March 9, 2010, CIS accepted petitions without an approved LCA, acknowledging that the delays in LCA approvals could be very difficult for employers and foreign nationals.  However, CIS just announced (see here) that it would not extend that temporary measure. As of March 10, 2010, CIS will reject any H-1B petition filed without an LCA certified by DOL.


  1. CIS hasn't done anything about the 2011FY either. With the April 1 Cap season coming up, trying to submit an LCA for a 10/1/2010 start date still won't be allowed until April 1st through iCert. Seems ridiculous that this issue isn't being addressed yet for this year as well. So what is one supposed to do with a new H1B filing for an Oct. 1 start date and can't even get the LCA submitted till April 1?

  2. You can't submit an LCA for a 10/1 start date, so we put an earlier start on the LCA. You request the LCA to be from 9/15/10 - 9/14/13, for example. The I-129 should then be from 10/1/10 - 9/14/13. We have always needed to file LCAs before April 1, so we did this even before the iCert delays. You might lose a couple of weeks on the I-129, but you can always get that back later.