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How to Apply for an H-1B Visa?
An H-1B visa is necessary for those who wish to work in the US. It is a highly prized visa that sees 200,000 applicants each year! But, unfortunately, only a few of these persons managed to get this coveted visa.
So, what is this H1-B visa, and how do you apply for it?
Find out everything you need to know below!
What Is an H-1B Visa?
H-1B visa is a type of Visa the USA government issues. It permits people from other countries to work in the US. Moreover, any foreigner applying for this visa must work in a field/position where a US-based worker cannot be found. Hence, these rules are pretty strict and enforced rigorously.
Firstly, it should be known that your employer pays partly for this visa and submits necessary documents on behalf of you. Moreover, an employer must prove that no specialised persons already in that country can do this job to substantiate the need to bring in a foreigner.
Eligibility Criteria for an H-1B Visa
H-1B visa eligibility involves several rules. Its criteria for eligibility are as given below:
- Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or its foreign equivalent.
- You should have all the necessary degree requirements for the job, for example, an MD for a doctor.
- Extensive knowledge of this field/position.
- An employer should show the lack of an experienced person in the US itself.
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will determine if the occupation is a specialised service and whether you are qualified to do it or not.
- Your employer should also file a labour condition with the Department of Labor regarding the terms and conditions of your contract.
- You must also prove your ability to do the work for which you are going.
Now you must be curious to know how to get an H-1B visa! Here’s how.
How to Apply for an H-1B Visa?
There are broadly four steps to apply for the H-1B visa. They are -
- Finding a company or organisation in the US to hire you
- Getting Labor Conditions Approval (LCA)
- Filling out Form I-129
- Completing this process by visiting the US Consulate in your home country.
Now, we will look at how to apply for an H-1B visa in detail.
- Step 1: You need a company in the US to sponsor you. That means you will need a company to offer you work for which no legitimate US workers are available.
- Step 2: Once you get the job, your employer should begin the process of an H-1B application.
- Step 3: Next, this company must file a Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) to the Department of Labor starting with certain rules regarding the wages.
- Step 4: Further, the employer will have to fill out Form I-129, which is a petition for a non-immigrant worker. This usually takes around 3 to 4 months and includes submitting fees, resume, confirmation letter, letter of support, training certificates, education and experience evaluation documents.
- Step 5: After the petition is approved, the person must visit the American Consulate in their home country to complete the formalities. This will take around 2 to 3 days.
Documents Required for an H-1B visa
There are plenty of H-1B visa requirements, as you have already seen. Here we will discuss the H-1B visa documents required.
There are two cases. The first case is when a person lives outside the US, and the second is when a person is already in the US.
These are the documents required for an H-1B visa.
H-1B Visa for Those Outside the US
- Firstly, you will require 2 to 3 passport-sized coloured photographs
- Copies of your degrees
- Further, you will need copies of your current US license or temporary license, and resume along with supporting certificates
- If an H-4 visa is being applied for, submit copies of the children’s birth certificates and the marriage certificate.
- Job description and duty with the sponsoring US company to be described in short.
- Labor Certificate Approval (LCA)
- Most importantly, you will need the appointment letter from your employer
- Next, you will have to send a copy of the appointment letter sent to the Consular General of the Indian Consulate and the Department of Justice
- Next, you will need all the appointments and relieving certificates from the previous companies.
- Postgraduate certification
- Tax returns paper of the company
- Then, you need to mention any dates of prior stay in the US in H-1B status
- Two demand drafts, $45 for processing fee and $100 for issuance fee
H-1B Visa for Those Living Inside the US
- Copy of biographic and visa pages of current passport
- Copy of credentials evaluation
- A copy of university or college degree
- Copy of current license, if any
- Current resume with employment history
- Current U.S. address
- Dates of prior stay in the US under H1-B status
- Day and evening phone numbers
- A detailed description of your job and duties
- E-mail address
- Foreign address
- Form I-94 card copy
- Prior H1-B approval notices copy
- Copy of recent payslip
- Recent W2 copy
- Social security number
- The title you hold with the sponsoring US Company
Moreover, it is also important to know the requirements for the passport-sized photograph that you will need to submit.
Photograph Requirements for the H-1B Visa Application
- The image should be a square, and its minimum dimensions must be 600 x 600 pixels.
- Photo must be in colour (SRGB) code.
- The file’s format must be JPEG.
- Photo file size must be 240 KB or less.
- Your image must have the full face, shoulders, and neck in frontal view.
- Facial expressions must be non-smiling and neutral. Eyes must be opened. Further, you must look directly at the camera.
- Your head must never be tilted towards any side. It should always be at the centre of the frame.
- The background must be light-coloured. In addition, no shadows should be there in the picture.
- The face should stay in focus, and this picture must not be sharpened.
- Moreover, the photo must not be over or underexposed.
What Are the Fees for an H-1B Visa?
Standard fee for Form I-129
ACWIA training fee
$750 - $1500
Fraud prevention and detection fee
Public Law 114-113 Fee for companies with half of their workers having an H-1B or L1 status
Optional fees for those who expedite the H-1B visa process with Form I-907
Other Miscellaneous Points Regarding an H-1B Visa
What is the Lottery Process of an H-1B Visa?
There is an annual limit on the number of H-1B visas that are approved. After this limit is reached, the applicants have to enter a lottery randomly. If your number is selected, then you can go through with the visa process. Otherwise, you will have to wait for the next year to apply.
How to Check the Status of H-1B Visa?
H-1B status check can be done online. Follow these steps -
- Step 1: Visit the official portal of USCIS.
- Step 2: Upon registering, you will receive a 13-digit receipt number. It should start with EAC, VSC, NSC, WAC.
- Step 3: Enter this number and check to complete the H-1B tracking!
What is the Validity for an H-1B Visa?
The H-1B visa is valid for up to 3 years. After that, it can be extended for another three years. After that, you will need to apply for an F-1 student or an O-1 worker.
To extend the visa after six years, a petitioner, either your current employer or a new employer, must file Form I-126.
How Long Does It Take to Process an H-1B Visa?
Successful petitions take around 3-5 days to get processed. However, the H1B petition period can take 3 to 6 months. However, if premium processing is requested, the process takes 15 calendar days.
- How to Check H1B Visa Status Without a Receipt Number?
You can check your visa status by calling on 1-800-375-5283. Depending on the call volumes, you can check your H-1B visa status without a receipt number.
What Are the Benefits of an H-1B Visa?
There are plenty of benefits of the H-1B visa, especially for the person and their family. They are -
- Family members (Children and spouses upto age 21) can join the person during their stay. However, they will have to apply for an H4 visa.
- H4 visa holders can go to school, open bank accounts, and receive a social security number.
- H-1B visa has general requirements that make it easier to apply for and get. It requires a Bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a US-based company.
- The duration of stay for this visa is also more than other visas like J-1 or B-1.
- You can also work part-time and for multiple employers in the US.
- You can pursue legal permanent residency in the US while under this visa.
In conclusion, it is no secret why the H-1B is such a popular and coveted visa. However, it has been abused by employers in the past and, hence, the strictness of the rules at present.
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Disclaimer - The information mentioned here about the countries, visa fees and others is taken from different sources. Digit Insurance is not promoting or recommending anything here. Please verify the same before you book your tickets, apply for a visa, buy a travel policy or make any other decision.
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