The most common or popular visa amongst the non-immigrant visas that people tend to apply for now is the H1B Visa. There are many processes you will need to go through to be able to get the H-1B visa. This article will explain through all the steps of getting an H-1B Visa.
What is the H1B visa?
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant U.S. work visa that permits companies or industries to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations where a graduate university degree is required and the employer makes the job offer and when he wants to hire you, he applies for your H1B visa petition with the US immigration department. The H1B visa is also called the Person in Specialty Occupation Visa. You can actually get this type of visa if you meet up with all the requirements accepted in a specific job position which has the following requirements:
- Possess advanced training or vocational skills(An example can be a pilot)
- Must have an advanced Educational degree such as:
- A Master’s or Doctoral Degree
- A 4 four years Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent degree.
- Should qualify to work in a research and development projects of the U.S Department of Defense or other government positions
Who can Obtain an H1B Visa?
Due to the nature of the visa, which is a work visa, it is the duty of the employer to apply for the visa. The employer has a job but does not have anyone who meets the requirements in the United States to do the job. Explaining that this job requires a higher educational degree or persons specialized and have a better knowledge of the profession to be able to do it well.
Some of these jobs positions might include:
- IT specialists
- Accountants, etc.
After the employer has posted the job opportunity, applicants are expected to send in their applications and all the necessary documents to show that they are the best for the position. The employer will then receive the documents and initiate the U.S H1B visa process.
The U.S. employer is considered a corporation or company which has an Internal Revenue Service(IRS) number. The employer has the duty to meet some requirements specified by the country since they are the ones to initiate the process. THis can also be called H1B visa sponsorship.
H1B Visa Process for Employers.
Have a Labor Condition Application (LCA)
The U.S Department of Labor must issue an approved Labor Conditions Application(LCA) to the U.S Employer. This approval certifies that the employer can employ persons from other countries. The employer is also obliged to offer the employees fair treatment and compensation. The employer must hire from other countries since their petition states that they could not find someone in the USA who is available, willing and qualified to do the job.
In that form, they should indicate the number of years that they will employ international workers. With this form, the U.S and the employees are guaranteed that the employer will:
- Provide a conducive working environment and condition for the workers.
- Pay the foreign employee the full wage according to the job
- Inform the government of the location where the work will be performed.
- State clearly the employee’s job description and wage amount
- Tell the employee of any changes made in the Labor certification.
- Provide the number of employees and all important company information.
The employer must first have an approved Labor Conditions Application (LCA) before making any other move in hiring a foreign employee. The LCA is filed with the U.S Department of Labor. On the part of the employee, he can not start working before all the certifications and documents are ready.
File A Petition with the USCIS.
The employer will file a petition which will be sent to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Service(USCIS). This process is to give a job offer to the foreign employee and file the Form I-129. this form is complete so as to get approval from the U.S. government to employ a national of another country. The main authorities responsible for the processing of petitions is the USCIS and the I-129 form is the main form for petitions.
The employees are to file separate I-129 forms for each employee
I-129 forms are required :
- In the case where the employee is being hired by two companies, both companies will have to file the Form I-129
- If the employee is moving from one job to another, the new employer has to file a Form I-129
- If the employee needs to extend their work contract, the employer must file the Form I-129
Submit the forms along with the document file
The Form I-129 is to be signed with black ink and put together with other documents in a file. The employer must check the documents and include the fees checks as well. some of the required documents are:
- The I-129 Form filling fee. This fee can, however, be waived when the employers apply from the USCIS by filing the form I-912
- Fraud detection and prevention fee of $500 for each employee to be hired
- Employer Funded Training fee of $1500 for employers who have more than 25 full-time employees in the U.S, and $750 for employers having less than 25 full-time employees in the USA.
- The Form I-129
- An additional fee of $1225 and the Form I-907 for employees who need premium processing from the USCIS
- The Form G-28 is required if the employer will be represented by an attorney.
- Payment of public Law 114-113 fee of $4000. This is if the employer has more than 50 employeesand the 50% of them are on the H1B or L visas. but the employer will not have to pay the fee if thy arev extending or amending the USCIS petition.
- Other documents include:
- A copy of the would-be employee’s passport
- Internal Tax Record of the company
- Prove that the foreign national meets the educational qualifications for the job
- A copy of the contract signed between the employee and the employee
- A report to state wages paid out to employees
- 15 photographs of the premises of your business.
Where do you submit the Petition?
The employer will then submit the petitions to the USCIS in one of its four locations:
- Nebraska Service Center (LIN for Lincoln, Nebraska)
- Vermont Service Center (EAC for Eastern Adjudication Center)
- Texas Service Center (SRC for Southern Regional Center)
- California Service Center (WAC for Western Adjudication Center).
However, the employer must submit the petition at the closest service in the area where they are located. The USCIS will issue your case number immediately as they receive the petition. The case number will have a specific format. For example, it would be EAC-18-107-50321. With is number you will be able to check your petition status.
The first three letters show the service center(EAC, in this case, is for Vermont). The second two numbers (18) refer to the year that the petition was submitted. In this case, it refers to the year 2018. The other numbers(107) refers to the day when the application was submitted. this gets counted from the first day that the USCIS opens the application period until the last day, not including the weekends and holidays. The final five numbers (50321) represent your case number. This case number is not in order of how your application gets received. The USCIS does not give information on how they get this number.
Wait for the review from USCIS.
The USCIS will go through the petition and all the added documents to determine whether the job is real or speculative and also if they will approve the petition or not. The employee or the employer can not make any other step when the USCIS has not approved the petition o the H1B sponsorship process is approved. The USCIS will issue the form I-797 to the would-be employee if the petition is approved. The employee can then proceed with the application procedures.
USCIS approves around 65000 petitions per year begining on the 1st of October to the 30th of September. 6800 petitions are reserved for the H1B1 visas for Chile and Singapore nationals, while the rest for H1B visas.
H1B Visa Application Process for the Employee.
The H1B Application is filled by the person applying. In addition to the employers, employees or H1B applicants must also complete these steps:
Fill in the Form DS-160.
This process includes completing the DS-160 form online with the necessary information about yourself. Make sure to accurately and Honestly fill this form. After submitting this form you will be sent a barcode and confirmation page which you will need to print out and add to your document file.
Schedule an Interview
After completing the DS-160 form, the next step is to schedule your interview. The H1B visa interview is a compulsory step before you can get your H1B visa. It is always advised that you try to schedule your interview as early as possible. This is because delays might be encountered during the processing time as a result of the heavy workload of the US embassy you are applying from. After scheduling your interview you will receive an interview confirmation letter which you will need later on in the application process.
Pay the H1B visa fees.
For the H1B visa, there are 3 different types of fees which the applicant is expected to pay:
- A Non Refundable Application fee, which for this category is $190
- Visa issuance fees or reciprocity fee is applicable in some countries and its amount is determined by your location
- Additional fees for the H-1B applicants, if the company you will be working in has more than 50 employees and more than 50% of them are on H-1B or L-1 visas, it will be an additional fee of $2250.
H1B Visa Requirements: Submit Required Documents for H1B visa.
You are required to submit a list of standard required documents for every US visa, the required documents for an H1B visa include:
- A valid passport for at least 6 months after your intended return from the U.S to your home country.
- Your Form I-129 (original and one copy)
- A photograph meeting the Photo Requirements for US visa application
- Receipts proving you have paid the fees
- Documents of your educational qualification, that Degree and non-degree diplomas and certifications.
- Your visa interview confirmation letter
- The Receipts number from the USCIS petition, which can be found in the I-129 form.
- A letter from your employer showing your job description and their intention to employ you.
- Letter from your previous employers on your employment history and skills.
- The original interview appointment letter
If you have worked in the U.S, before, you also have to submit:
- Your Tax Return forms
- Names and contacts information of previous employers and supervisors
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Payslips for the past 12 months
If this is the first time you are applying, you should submit these additional documents
Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Names and contact information of your supervisors and managers of your current and previous jobs
- Names contact information of two co-workers of your current and previous jobs
- Aletter describing your job duties and responsibilities of the job you will have in the U.S.
- Photographs of the building where you will be working in the U.S. (inside and outside), prospectus, annual reports, and brochures.
- Photographs of your current and previous job locations
- Bank Statements.
Attend the Interview.
You are expected to prepare your document file with all the H1B visa required documents before you go to attend your interview. The interview together with your DS-160 form will help the U.S Embassy to make its decision whether to grant the visa or not. They will ask you extensive questions on the type of job you will be doing in the U.S., the workplace, the employer. They will try to find out if you are really going to the USA for work or to do something else.
If it is your first time applying, they will also take your fingerprints which will be saved in the U.S system.
H1B Visa Processing Time: How long do you have to wait for Processing?
The H1B visa processing can take weeks or sometimes months to be completed. This is because the processing time for US visas tends to vary from country to country. All these depend on the workload of the US embassy where you applied at that time. Nonetheless, you will have to be patient and wait for the embassy to inform you if you have been granted the visa or not.
How long can you stay in the US with an H1B Visa?
The validity period for the initial H1B visa is 3 years and can be extended by an additional 3 years. This means that the H1B visa holder can stay and work in the USA for a period of at most 6 years. The person must not necessarily return to their home country. The H1B visa is popular because it is a dual intent visa.
Dual intent visas allow its holders to apply for a change of status to an immigrant visa. So if you qualify to get a valid job offer after the 6 years, you can apply for an Employment-Based Green Card.
H1B Visa Extension: How to Extend the H1B Visa.
The H1B visa extension process is the responsibility of the Employer. Your employer will need to go through the same processes for getting certification from the Department of Labor. Moreso, the H1B visa extension process is almost like the initial application process, You will have to pay the same fees except for the fraud detection and protection fee. The following documents need to be submitted during the process:
- A valid passport
- Original I-94 form, which you will get when your visa is approved
- A valid I-797 Form
- A letter from your employer giving your job description and signed by the company representatives.
H1B Visa Amendment
In cases where the employee has material changes, the US employers need to file for an H1B visa amendment. What are the material changes? Material changes are defined as anything that impacts the employee’s eligibility for an H1B visa. The USCIS, however, has not provided a list of what they consider as material changes but some of them are:
- Change in the corporate structure
- If the employee is supposed to move to a different location than what is registered with the USCIS
- Promotion to a different department of the employee.
There is no universal guideline on how the H1B amendment should be, hence the amendment can be filed after the changes have been made. The employs will need to inform the USCIS to determine whether the change is necessary and if it needs an amended petition.
H1B Visa For Spouse and Children: Can You bring your Dependents along?
In the case where the H1B visa holder has a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years who need to travel to the US with them then they will use the H4 visa. The H 4 visa permits the relatives to accompany the H1B visa holder to the US for the duration of their Work period. As soon as the H1B visa expires, they are expected to return to their home country.
The H1B dependents since 2015 could qualify to work under the H 4 EAD program in certain conditions and could register for studies. Children can, however, be allowed to complete their elementary and middle school till the 12th grade.
What is H1B Visa Stamping?
When the USCIS approves your H1B visa, you will need to apply for the H1B stamping. This is a different process on its own,hence you can check out the H1B visa stamping information for more details.
H1B visa sponsors database
To get access to a list of H1 B Visa Sponsors you can visit h1b.io. Jobs are posted every day from many companies in the United States that are actively hiring H1B Candidates
H1B Visa Jobs
Types of Jobs and Professions that qualify for the H1B Visa Program
Below is a list of all the Jobs / Occupations that qualify to get issued an H1B visa
Occupations In Architecture, Engineering, And Surveying
- Architectural Occupations,
- Aeronautical Engineering Occupations,
- Electrical/ Electronics Engineering Occupations,
- Civil Engineering Occupations,
- Ceramic Engineering Occupations,
- Mechanical Engineering Occupations,
- Chemical Engineering Occupations,
- Mining And Petroleum Engineering Occupations,
- Metallurgy And Metallurgical Engineering Occupations,
- Industrial Engineering Occupations,
- Agricultural Engineering Occupations,
- Marine Engineering Occupations,
- Nuclear Engineering Occupations,
- Surveying/ Cartographic Occupations,
- Other Occupations In Architecture, Engineering, And Surveying.
Occupations In Mathematics And Physical Sciences
- Occupations In Mathematics,
- Occupations In Astronomy,
- Occupations In Chemistry,
- Occupations In Physics,
- Occupations In Geology,
- Occupations In Meteorology,
- Other Occupations In Mathematics And Physical Sciences
Computer Science & IT, and Telecom Occupations
- Occupations In Systems Analysis And Programming,
- Occupations In Data Communications And Networks,
- Occupations In Computer System User Support,
- Occupations In Computer System Technical Support,
- Other Computer-Related Occupations
- Occupations In Life Sciences
- Occupations In Agricultural Sciences,
- Occupations In Biological Sciences,
- Occupations In Psychology,
- Other Occupations In Life Sciences
Occupations In Medicine And Health
- Physicians And Surgeons,
- Registered Nurses,
- Occupations In Medical And Dental Technology,
- Other Occupations In Medicine And Health
Occupations In Education & Research
- Occupations In College And University Education,
- Occupations In Secondary School Education,
- Occupations In Preschool, Primary School, And Kindergarten Education,
- Occupations In Education Of Persons With Disabilities,
- Home Economists And Farm Advisers,
- Occupations In Vocational Education,
- Other Occupations In Education
Occupations in Writing and Languages
- Editors: Publication, Broadcast, And Script,
- Other Occupations In Writing
Occupations in Finance and Administrative Specializations
- Accountants, Auditors, And Related Occupations,
- Budget And Management Systems Analysis Occupations,
- Purchasing Management Occupations,
- Sales And Distribution Management Occupations,
- Advertising Management Occupations,
- Public Relations Management Occupations,
- Personnel Administration Occupations,
- Inspectors And Investigators, Managerial And Public Service,
- Other Administrative Occupations
Occupations in Business Management & Administration
- Agriculture, Forestry, And Fishing Industry Managers And Officials,
- Mining Industry Managers And Officials,
- Construction Industry Managers And Officials,
- Manufacturing Industry Managers And Officials,
- Transportation, Communication, And Utilities Industry Managers And Officials,
- Wholesale And Retail Trade Managers And Officials,
- Finance, Insurance, And Real Estate Managers And Officials
- Service Industry Managers And Officials,
- Public Administration Managers And Officials,
- Miscellaneous Managers And Officials
OTHER Specialty Occupations as listed below
- Occupations In Economics,
- Occupations In Political Science,
- Occupations In History,
- Occupations In Sociology,
- Occupations In Anthropology,
- Other Occupations In Social Sciences,
- Museum Curators And Related Occupations,
- Other Occupations In Museum, Library, And Archival Sciences,
- Other Occupations In Law And Jurisprudence,
- Other Occupations In Religion And Theology,
- Commercial Artists: Designers And Illustrators, Graphic Arts,
- Environmental, Product, And Related Designers,
- Other Occupations In Art,
- Occupations In Music,
- Other Occupations In Entertainment And Recreation,
- Occupations In Social And Welfare Work,
H1B Visa News.
The USCIS opens applications annually in spring for H1B visas. The is has a maximum of 65000 visa applications. This implies that once they have received up to 65000 applications, they can no longer receive any. The first 20000 applicants with a master’s degree are expected from this visa limit.
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