For years, the H-1B visa has been the most popular long-term work visa in the United States, and for a sound reason.
Several advantages give the H-1B visa a competitive advantage over other work visa types.
From its ease of entry to its extended initial duration of stay, it’s simple to see why so many foreign professionals apply for H-1B visa advantages each year.
What is precisely an H-1 visa?
The H-1B visa is a specialty occupation US visa, which indicates the bearer is engaged in a position that needs particular skills or expertise.
Jobs that qualify for the H1B visa often require a university degree or equivalent (which might entail three years of work experience for each year spent at university).
The position should be one that would ordinarily need that degree of expertise.
The H-1B visa is valid for three years, with one three-year extension available, for a total stay of six years.
For this visa, your company must offer you a position in the United States and file an H1B visa petition with the US Immigration Department.
This accepted petition is a work permit that permits you to receive a visa stamp and work for that employer in the United States.
In addition to specialist employees, the H1B visa is also applicable to fashion models and Department of Defense joint research and development project employees.
An H1B visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for a maximum of six years.
Some exceptions allow the visa to be extended for an additional year based on the type of job done.
A foreign US Department of Defense employee, for example, can have their visa extended for up to ten years.
If you leave or are fired by the employer who sponsored your visa, you must either find a new job and complete new paperwork, ask for a change of status, or be deported and return to your home country.
There is a 60-day window to locate a new job or apply for a green card for permanent residency.
If you are deported, unless you left the firm willingly, your employer will be responsible for the expense of your return trip.
Furthermore, if you are recruited by a US employer again after your deportation, you can reapply for an H1B visa, but you will have to go through the same application procedure as a new candidate.
H1B Visa Requirements
To be qualified for an H1B visa, the applicant must fulfill the following requirements:
- Have a bachelor’s degree (or above) in their specialist vocation from an authorized university.
- Hold an overseas degree equal to a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialty occupation’s field.
- Possess an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification in the specialty occupation’s field in the planned state of employment.
- Have verified and recognized education, experience, or training in the specialty, equating to a bachelor’s degree or higher.
H1B Visa Application Process
1. Find an H1B Sponsor
The H1B visa is a type of work visa that requires the applicant to be sponsored by a US business.
As a result, anyone wishing to enter the United States on an H1B visa must first get a job with a US firm ready to sponsor them.
When applying for a job in the United States, you must ensure that the company is willing to sponsor you.
The last thing you want is to get recruited for a job only to discover that the company is unwilling to assist you in relocating to the United States.
To avoid this, make it clear from the beginning of your job application process that you will need sponsorship to enter the United States.
Many companies will question this when the candidate fills out the job application, but if they do not, you should bring it up yourself.
2: The Employer Submits Labor Conditions Approval (LCA)
When a US firm hires you, the employer will start the application process by electronically submitting an LCA to the Department of Labor (DOL) via the iCERT Portal System. LCA stands for Labor Conditions Approval, and it informs the DOL about the numerous aspects of your employment, such as compensation, location, and working conditions.
In completing the LCA, the employer certifies to the government that the employee will be paid a pay that is equal to or more than the prevailing pay for the job in the geographic region where the work will be conducted and that the working conditions will not be damaging to other similarly employed employees.
The LCA is a sophisticated document, and you will need to collaborate with your employer to ensure that it fits the DOL’s criteria.
3: The Employer Files Form I-129
Check out our guide, LCA for H1B Visa: What is it, How to File, and Processing Time, for more information on LCAs.
After the LCA is granted, the employer will file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
The employer must include the fees, education and experience assessments and documentation, training certificates, any professional membership paperwork, the applicant’s résumé, employment agreement, and letter of support to complete this phase.
The processing period for the petition varies based on the service location, and the wait might last up to 3 or 4 months.
Premium processing, on the other hand, is accessible for a cost.
4. Submits an application to a US Embassy or Consulate.
Once the petition is authorized, the applicant must apply for a visa at the nearest US embassy or consulate in their home country.
It usually takes 2 to 3 days, however, it varies depending on where you are.
H1B Visa Fees
Filing an H1B application is not inexpensive, but thankfully, the company that sponsors the applicant pays for the majority of the filing fees.
The following are typical H1B processing fees:
- The base filing fee is $300.
- The ACWIA fee is $750. (for employers with 1-25 full-time employees)
- ACWIA charge of $1,500 (for businesses with 26 or more full-time workers)
- Fee for fraud prevention and detection of $500
- The optional premium processing cost of $1,225
This last cost (premium processing) is the only one you are accountable for.
If you do, the employer must demonstrate that you chose premium processing for personal reasons rather than benefit the business.
It favors the applicant since it stops companies from forcing employees to pay the premium processing cost if the company wants it.
As long as the employer desires premium processing, the charge will be paid by the employer rather than the applicant.
Fortunately, most firms end up paying this cost because it reduces the LCA processing time to no more than 15 days.
H1B Visa Lottery
The H1B lottery is a computer-generated random selection procedure used by the USCIS to choose H1B visa applicants for approval.
This procedure was implemented in response to the large amount of H1B petitions submitted each year, which far exceeded the visa quotas.
When the number of visa applications exceeds the yearly visa quota, the USCIS will select the necessary number of petitions at random.
With some exclusions, the USCIS typically issues a limit of 65,000 standard H1B visas per year.
The first 20,000 visas granted to those with master’s degrees or above are exempt from the cap.
Visas for persons entering the United States to work in higher education or connected research/non-profit organizations may be excluded from the limitation as well.
Under the unique H1-B1 visa, 6800 visas are generally earmarked for natives of Chile and Singapore.
This figure is withheld from the overall visa allocation (65,000 regular plus 20,000 masters).
Due to the severe constraints, H-1B visas are given through a lottery system.
That means that even if you qualify, there is no certainty that you will be granted a visa.
(Of course, if you do not apply, you can’t win the lottery.)
It is advisable that you consult with one of our attorneys about the cap.
Master’s Degree Applicant Benefits
If you hold a master’s degree, your application will be placed in a lottery pool with other master’s candidates.
After the visa cap is reached through that lottery pool, the remaining master’s degree applications that were not selected will be re-entered into the lottery pool and will go through the random selection procedure again.
As a result, if you have a master’s degree, you will have two chances of being chosen for a visa, but individuals with only a bachelor’s degree will only be eligible for the ordinary lottery pool.
Visa Caps in 2021
For the Fiscal Year 2021 H1B Visa Caps, the ceiling on the H1B regular pool was 65,000, and the maximum for Master’s applicants was 20,000.
However, the USCIS received 94,213 applications for ordinary pool applicants and 95,885 petitions for Master’s applicants.
Because the number of applicants exceeded the maximum, a lottery was held for both pools. It is also projected for the next fiscal years.
H1B Visa to Green Card
If an H1B visa holder has approached the end of their stay in the United States, they may be thinking, “What’s next?”
At this stage, H1B visa holders have the option of returning to their home country or applying for a green card to permanently settle in the United States.
The H1B visa, unlike most other visas, is a dual intent visa, which implies that the visa applicant can apply for the visa with the aim of permanently residing in the United States.
It permits the H1B visa holder to apply for a green card while remaining on the H1B visa.
The process of applying for a green card begins with the sponsoring employer petitioning for their employee to be transferred from visa to green card status.
They must complete the PERM Labor Certification form, which must be authorized by the Department of Labor.
After the PERM Labor Certification is obtained, the business must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
Following the completion of the I-140 form, the applicant files Form I-485 to change their status from H1B visa holder to green cardholder.
When this form is reviewed and accepted, the applicant will be granted a green card and become a permanent resident of the United States!
Reasons for H1B Rejections
H1B petition rejections are at an all-time high.
Our strategic strategy evaluates and addresses the most common reasons why USCIS may refuse an application.
The following are the top five.
Occupation of specialization
Is the job classified as a specialized occupation?
If a corporation offers its employees a choice of professions, make them choose job titles that need certain degrees in the OOH.
If you are transferring employment, make changes to your positions rather than just extending them.
As long as the tasks and titles are accurate, make sure they are equivalent to and do not contradict those used in the company papers.
The right to control
When moving an employee to a third-party worksite, an employer must retain the idea of the right to control.
The solution is to include the essential language in your company documents, such as itineraries, master service agreements, statements of work, invoices, employee handbooks, employment agreements, and vendor and end-user letters to USCIS. Have as many of these documents signed by all parties as feasible.
Level 1 wage.
By interpreting a DOL memo definition of a Level 1 wage as entry-level work, USCIS used DOL Level One designations in LCAs in RFEs and Denials. Adjudicators would then argue that the job description was too sophisticated for an entry-level post.
We employ at least four ways to circumvent this constraint.
It is a severe issue for certain petitioning staffing organizations, which may have one or more vendors between them and the end-user.
If you cannot obtain a contract or letter from the end-user or third party, you must have documentation of actual work.
Deference to previously approved visas
It indicates that once USCIS implemented a series of stricter restrictions, they will apply them to extensions as well.
Fill out all H-1B visa applications as though they’ve never been done before!
In the OOH, you should select job titles that need certain degrees.
Consider using a title like a Developer instead of Computer Programmer or Computer Analyst.
The alteration, however, must be legal.
You may do this by promoting the employee, documenting it with a performance assessment, and ensuring that the job pays the prevailing rate.