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We strongly recommend beginning the process of assembling an H-1B petition for April 1 filing no later than the end of February – and as early as the beginning of January if possible.
Under optimal conditions, an H-1B can be prepared and filed in as little as ten days.
However, life is rarely about optimal conditions. Issues may arise once the process has begun which take time to address. There may be problems which must be addressed with posting of the Labor Condition Application (especially if a third-party worksite is involved), or the DOL may take issue with the electronically-submitted LCA. Documents may get lost in employer mail rooms, or people needed to sign documents may be out of the office unexpectedly. Most issues can be spotted and addressed by a competent immigration lawyer before documents are filed, but often several people are involved in the resolution process – leading to the normal delays which happen whenever two or more busy people try to coordinate schedules.
Note that when we talk about beginning the process, we are referring to the legal process of filing for the H-1B with a qualified immigration attorney. The process of finding a job with a U.S. employer who will act as an H-1B sponsor should be started far, far earlier – as should the process of seeking legal advice about the H-1B and the road to getting one.