Do you want to apply for an H-1B Visa? If so, the first thing you need to know is that the application process is anything but simple. It involves following several steps and meeting several requirements.
Here is what you need to know about the H-1B Visa:
What is the H-1B Visa?
The H-1B Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign worker to temporarily work in the United States for a specific employer who must sponsor the worker and file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their behalf.
To qualify, the worker must:
- Have a job offer from the employer for a position that requires specialized knowledge and skills in a certain field, and
- Have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the relevant field.
The H-1B Visa is valid for three years and can be extended for another three years, for a maximum of six years. However, some workers may be eligible for extensions beyond six years under certain circumstances, such as having an approved employment-based green card petition pending for more than one year.
The H-1B Visa also allows the worker to bring their spouse and children under 21 years old as dependents under the H-4 visa category. The dependents can study in the U.S. but cannot work unless they obtain their own work authorization.
What are the Benefits of the H-1B Visa?
The H-1B Visa offers several benefits for both the worker and the employer. Some of them are:
- The worker can work in the U.S. legally and earn a competitive salary.
- The worker can travel in and out of the U.S. during the validity of the visa.
- The worker can change employers within the U.S., as long as the new employer files a new H-1B petition for them.
- The worker can apply for a green card while on an H-1B visa, without affecting their status.
- The employer can hire qualified and skilled workers from abroad to fill their labor needs.
- The employer can retain the worker for up to six years or longer if they sponsor them for a green card.
- The employer does not have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for the worker.
The H-1B Visa Application Process
The process of applying for an H-1B Visa involves four main steps:
Step 1: Find an H-1B Sponsor
The first step is to find an employer who is willing and able to sponsor you for an H-1B Visa. You can search for job openings online, attend career fairs, network with professionals in your field, or use other methods to find potential employers.
Once you find an employer who is interested in hiring you, you should make sure that they are aware of the H-1B visa requirements and procedures, and that they are ready to file a petition for you with USCIS.
Step 2: Submit a Labor Condition Application
The second step is for your employer to submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA is a document that certifies:
- That your employer will pay you at least the prevailing wage for your occupation and location,
- That your employment will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers in similar positions, and
- That there is no strike or lockout at your workplace.
The LCA can be filed online through the DOL’s iCERT portal. It usually takes about seven days for the DOL to certify or deny an LCA. Your employer cannot file an H-1B petition with USCIS until they receive a certified LCA.
Step 3: File Form I-129
The third step is for your employer to file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS. This form is used to request an H-1B Visa classification for you. Your employer must submit Form I-129 along with the following documents:
- A copy of your certified LCA
- A copy of your job offer letter
- A copy of your resume
- A copy of your educational credentials and transcripts
- A copy of your license or certification, if required for your occupation
- A copy of your passport and visa, if you are already in the U.S.
- A check or money order for the filing fee
- A check or money order for the fraud prevention and detection fee
- A check or money order for the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee
- An optional check or money order for the premium processing fee if your employer wants to expedite the processing of your petition
Your employer must file Form I-129 with the correct USCIS service center, depending on your work location.
Step 4: Complete the Application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
The fourth step is for you to complete the application at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country or country of residence. This step is required if you are outside the U.S. or if you need to change your status from another visa category to H-1B.
You will need to do the following:
- Fill out Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and submit it online.
- Pay the visa application fee online or at a designated bank.
- Schedule an interview appointment online or by phone with the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Gather the required documents for your interview, such as:
- Your passport and visa photos
- Your Form I-797, Notice of Action, which is the approval notice of your H-1B petition from USCIS
- Your original LCA and job offer letter
- Your resume and educational credentials
- Your license or certification, if applicable
- Any other documents that support your eligibility and qualifications for the H-1B Visa
- Attend your interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate on the scheduled date and time to answer questions about your background, education, work experience, and plans in the U.S.
We Can Help You Apply for an H-1B Visa
If you are looking for professional and reliable legal assistance to apply for an H-1B visa, look no further than Jurado & Associates, P.A. We are a law firm that specializes in immigration law, with many years of experience and a team of qualified and dedicated attorneys.
We can help you with:
- Finding an H-1B sponsor and preparing your job offer letter
- Filing your LCA and H-1B petition with USCIS
- Applying for your H-1B visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate
- Extending or changing your H-1B status
- Applying for a green card while on an H-1B visa
We look forward to working with you!