Requirements for obtaining H1B Visa

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The H1B visa, also known as the US Work Visa, which is usually granted to employees of companies operating outside the US territory who are either US degree holders or those that hold specialty jobs.  Specialty jobs are jobs that require practical as well as theoretical applications in certain fields, such as physical sciences, mathematics, biotechnology, information and computing sciences, business, etc.  In this case, the employers are the ones that file a petition for their employees to work in US on a temporary basis, usually up to 6 years.

The Process of obtaining H1B Visa

  1. The employer or company must first obtain an LCA – Labor Condition Application approval from the US Department of Labor.  Along with the LCA approval, the Form ETA-9035 or the Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker must, likewise, be approved.  The LCA is usually filed electronically through the US DOL’s iCERT Portal System.
  2. After the DOL’s approval, the employer must file an H1B petition using Form I-129 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.  The employer also has to pay a specific amount for the filing fee and submit the needed requirements, which includes the LCA approval.  The petition must be approved before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Once the petition has been approved by the USCIS, an H1B visa applicant must fill-up an application at the US Embassy or Consulate located in his or her country.

During the process, visa applicants have to prepare the following documents:

-       H1B visa applicants must be able to present a valid passport to the US Consulate or Embassy;

-       Applicants must bring their Diplomas,  Certificates and transcripts.  These documents shall prove that they are degree holders or experts in particular field;

-       Applicants also have to bring their approved H1B visa application from USCIS;

-       A letter from the current employer must be presented to the US Consulate;

-       Visa fee must be paid.

After requirements are finished, all visa applicants will be scheduled for an interview by the US Consulate.

Unlike other visas, the H1B follows a numerical limit or cap.  As a matter of fact, only 65,000 visa applications are approved yearly, but 20,000 slots are added for those who are able to complete their master’s degree from any university in the US.   In addition, employees or staffs that are employed in a non-profit organizations or entities, government research institutes are not included in the H1B numerical limit.

As for the timeframe limit of the visa, 3 years is the initial limit, but can be extended for another 3 years.  In case the contract of an H1B visa applicant is terminated before the expiration period of the visa, the employer shall shoulder the cost of transportation.  However, this rule does not apply if the visa holder will voluntarily resign from his or her job.

Would you like to know more about H1B visa application process? Check out our new E-book H1B Visa Manual. 

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