What Cap-Exemptions Mean
When an H-1B position is categorized as “cap-exempt,” it means it does not need to abide by the limitations of the cap-subject jobs. There is no set quality or limit that must be adhered to throughout the year and no specific dates during which a petitioner can apply for the visa.
As you can see, these criteria make a cap-exempt visa petition highly coveted. However, there are specific guidelines to follow for a job to qualify as cap-exempt, and you must meet the requirements to work in those positions.
There are only three categories of employers who meet general cap-exempt status. These include:
- Institutions of higher education or affiliated entities are those that grant admissions to students with secondary education and are licensed by the proper institution to provide that education. These institutions must offer programs that award a minimum of two years toward a bachelor’s or advanced degree or the degree itself.
- Non-profit organizations affiliated with a government entity or higher education institution. The organization must be connected to the other institution through shared ownership or control or as a member, subsidiary, or branch. Nonprofit organizations contribute to society through research, such as colleges and universities. Medical labs, hospitals, and research units affiliated with such institutions can be not-for-profit, as well.
- Government organizations working in nonprofit research fields.
Examples of these jobs include teachers working in non-profit school districts affiliated with an institution of higher education, with an H-1B petition approved under the University Affiliation Numerical cap-exemption. Consulting firms contracted or consulting for a nonprofit institution of higher education, an affiliate, or a nonprofit government research organization fall into this category.
Cap-Subject Petitions and Cap-Exempt Jobs
The fact that you have a visa through a cap-subject job means you’ve gone through the lottery process and were selected. However, if you’re offered a job through a cap-exempt employer during your stay in the US, you can transfer to this new position and stay within USCIS guidelines.
The opposite is not true. Without entering the lottery process, you can’t move from a cap-exempt job into a cap-subject position.
Is Your Potential Employer a Qualifying Nonprofit?
Keep in mind that an organization can be a nonprofit and not qualify as cap-exempt. You’ll want to research more about a potential employer before you initiate a cap-exempt petition.
An easy way to find out about the organization’s status is to look into its tax status. If it has been granted tax exemption for educational or research purposes, it is likely to qualify as cap-exempt. These employers are also given waivers for some filing fees.
You’ll find many of these positions in teaching hospitals connected to med schools. These hospitals have agreements that give students the opportunity to receive medical training during their schooling.
Other secondary schools are often nonprofits, but this doesn’t immediately qualify them as cap-exempt. Look for the tax exemption status, and understand that the ultimate decision comes down to USCIS investigation results.
The Challenges of Obtaining Cap-Exempt Jobs
Although cap-exempt jobs are in demand, they’re not always easy to qualify for. You must have enough experience to meet the requirements and pass background screenings. H-1B visas are very competitive, so you’ll need to be highly qualified in your field.
Successfully landing a petition for a cap-exempt job is possible if your employer meets the conditions and you have the skills.
You’ll need to search for these jobs through websites and recruiters dedicated to finding qualified candidates for nonprofits. When you find a job, verify the cap-exempt status of the employer through sites like guidestar.org and idealist.org.
Why Cap-Exempt Petitions Are in Demand
When your employer is cap-exempt, you get to reap the benefits. For instance, there are no limited approvals or predetermined deadlines. You can switch from cap-exempt employers to other cap-exempt employers when you’re in the US with less paperwork and hassle.
Cap-exempt jobs fall into various categories, including finances, IT work, instruction, and healthcare. Databases and recruiters are available to help you find the ideal position for your skills.
Regular processing for a cap-exempt petition can take three or four months, although premium processing speeds this up to 15 days.
Is the cap-exempt petition path right for you, or is there another alternative that might fit your needs better? Visa2US can help you start finding work, filing petitions, and answering questions to point you in the right direction.
You have options when you’re ready to work in the United States. Our legal team will work with you to understand your current situation and your experience and find the right classification to get you into the US working lawfully.