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H-1B Visa – Procedures & Requirements Explained
January 24, 2022
4 mins
The letter head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, a wing of Department of Homeland Security between two US flags


What is H-1B Visa & Its Eligibility Criteria?

American companies provide job opportunities for thousands of people worldwide. H-1B is one of the most popular work visas introduced in 1990 by U.S. organizations to expand labor. U.S. companies can hire non-citizens, provide work opportunities and let them reside in their country through an H-1B visa program. However, the most regular applicants are students who want to move to the U.S. and start their careers.

But, have you wondered how people get there? Any individual with an employment offer from a U.S. company can apply for an H-1B visa. These workers will have to get legal authorization and apply through the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Why is H1B considered so prized? What are the benefits?

Requirements for H-1B Visa Application

Not everyone can apply and get to the United States with an H-1B visa. The country looks forward to talented and skilled minds for vacancies. Jobs like engineers, health care professionals, financial analysts, lawyers, sales managers, technicians, artists, etc., are eligible for the H-1B visa. To be more precise, an individual who has:

  • A bachelor's degree or master's from a U.S. university or anything equivalent from other countries.
  • A bachelor's degree of three years from a college outside the U.S. with three of work experience .
  • Educational or technical expertise for the role mentioned in the job offer.

can apply for the visa. Do not forget, if the applied position requires certain credentials, you must obtain them before filing your application.

Terms & Conditions of H-1B Visa

Along with an H-1B visa, you should also have a job offer from any U.S.-based company. After acquiring an H-1B visa, you are expected to:

  • Not switch jobs with the same visa.
  • Apply for a status change if you wish to leave the existing position. This is called an H-1B visa transfer.

In case of H-1B visa transfer, you should transfer the visa within the provided 60 day grace period. This commences from the moment you leave the current role from the company and employer who sponsored your H-1B visa. By the end of the time allotted, if you don't get the renewed H-1B visa, you legally lose your permission to stay in the U.S.

Procedure to Get an H-1B Visa

A step-wise process to secure the H-1B visa is as follows:

  • Identify a job opportunity in the United States which offers facility to accommodate foreigners.
  • Ensure that you are eligible for the position and meet the H-1B visa requirements.
  • Request your employer to file an H-1 B petition to the US government.
  • Enter the petition to the visa lottery.
  • Wait until you get a further notice from USCIS.

If the application gets approved, you can enter the U.S. and work for three years. In the end, it is all worth waiting! Let us further discuss what happens with each step in an elaborate manner.

Finding a Sponsor – Step 1

Won't it feel bad if you are hired, but the employer turns their back against you when you gear up to move? So, it is always better to make the ground rules strong. Make a primary step to getting an H1B visa by spotting a sponsor or employer, ready to provide employment. To make things go as planned, start by filling the application and taking a strong stand for sponsorship.

Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) – Step 2

As the next step after hiring, the employer has to submit the LCA using the iCERT portal to the Department of Labor(DOL). The submission can be done electronically. The LCA contains information about the working conditions, pay, and location. The employer will attest it to the government that:

  • The employee will get a salary equal to or greater than the current position in that location.
  • The working conditions will not harm the worker.

I-129 Form Submission – Step 3

As LCA gets approved, the employer will have to file a non-immigrant worker petition with form I-129. This step includes submitting education, fees, and other experience-related documents. The employee must provide training certificates, professional membership documents with the resume, letters of support, and employment agreement.

The visa processing time depends on the center of service. It can take anywhere between 3 to 4 months. However, if you can afford a premium processing plan for an additional fee, the visa will reach you fast.

At the U.S. Embassy or Consulate – Step 4

This is the last part of the process. The petition gets approval in this stage. The applicant must process the visa at their nation's U.S. embassy or consulate. This final step will take 2 to 3 days, depending on the location.

Ways to Know The Status of H-1B Visa & Its Updates

On submitting the H-1B visa petition, the applicant gets a 13-digit receipt number. The number starts with the following prefix: WAC, EAC, LIN, NBC, SRC, IOE, or MSC, and 10 numbers follow this. With the provided receipt number, an applicant can check the status from time to time on the USCIS webpage.

Let us now see what the different statuses mean:

  • Submitted – The employer has filed or submitted the petition and it is now eligible for selection.
  • Selected – The petition is selected and the applicant can now file the petition for H-1B cap.
  • Not Selected – The petition is not selected and the applicant cannot file the petition for H-1B cap.
  • Denied – The petition is rejected as more than one petition has been filed.
  • Invalidated – The applicant failed to make the payment after submitting the petition.

Also read: The List of Important H1B Visa Requirements

Summing It Up

An H-1B visa paves the way for American companies to gain better talents from around the globe. Most importantly, skilled workers get an opportunity to change their lives by working and living in the US. Obtaining the H-1B visa seems challenging for many even today. Visit TechFetch H1B visa for all H1B visa related information. We guide you with news, updates, and latest information about the entire H1B Visa process.

**Disclaimer : All US immigration policies and procedures are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more information.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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