H-1B Visa process 2018: The process of filing petitions for H-1B has begun today. H-1B visa is considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly skilled Indian professionals. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is the federal agency responsible to process all H-1B visas, has started accepting H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2019 from Monday. The online filing can be done by visiting the official website of USCIS - uscis.gov. This development comes amidst an unprecedented scrutiny by the Trump administration on H-1B visas. The USCIS this time will accept zero tolerance for even minor errors. It has strongly indicated that the immigration attorneys this time expect a much high rate of rejection. Expecting a huge rush of application and greater scrutiny of all petitions, which would require much more man hours, the USCIS has also temporarily suspended premium processing. In a statement yesterday, USCIS said that protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS. Therefore, it has enhanced and increased site visits, interviews, and investigations of petitioners who use the H-1B visa programme, which will help in protecting American workers. Here is all you need to know about the H-1B visa: What is H-1B Visa \u2022 The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. \u2022 The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. \u2022 Ahead of the H-1B visa filing process, USCIS said this work visa should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. \u2022 The H-1-B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. \u2022 The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Changes proposed in H-1B visas in recent years \u2022 As an H-1B non-immigrant, the applicant may be admitted for a period of up to three years. \u2022 The time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years. However, there are some exceptions to it. \u2022 Over the past year, the administration has made the process of extension more difficult. \u2022 This has compelled Indian IT firms to inform employees that they may have to return earlier than anticipated. \u2022 The new rules imply that one may not even now get the initial full three years, reported Times of India. \u2022 As per the 2017 report, the new proposal had asked for the minimum salary of those on H-1B visas to be doubled to $130,000 a year, therefore making it difficult for tech giants to hire foreign workers.\u200b H-1B Visa process 2018: H-1B Visa petition filing tips What to do while filing the petition \u2022 Complete all sections of the form accurately. \u2022 The petitioner should include a copy of the beneficiary's valid passport. \u2022 If the applicant is seeking an extension of stay or change of status, he\/she should include evidence to establish that the beneficiary will maintain a valid nonimmigrant status through the employment start date being requested. What Not to do while filing the petition \u2022 USCIS has warned that there will be zero tolerance for even minor errors. \u2022 The practice of filing duplicate petitions by the companies had become normal in past years. This was done so that applicants could have a greater chance of getting through the lottery. However, USCIS has warned against duplicate applications filing as it would be subject to rejection. \u2022 USCIS has also said that it will reject H-1B petitions requesting an earlier employment start date or a start date of "As Soon As Possible" or "ASAP." H1-B visa for Indian companies \u2022 The applications by Indian companies are likely to face a greater scrutiny of all these petitions. \u2022 Indian companies would have to pay much more fee per application than those from other countries. \u2022 On an average, the applicants are required to pay USD 6,000 to the federal government per H-1B application. H-1B Visa process 2018: Interview Process \u2022 The successful applicant needs to appear before the American diplomatic missions - embassies and consulates \u2013 for a formal visa interview and stamping on their passport. \u2022 For this, they would have to be ready with details of the social media profile, emails and phone numbers in the last five years.