Secrets to Getting an H-1B Visa
What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is for individuals in specialty occupations, including science, engineering, and information technology. Through this program, a US employer can temporarily employ a foreign worker to occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in a field. However, the application process can at times be frustrating or confusing. The following tips may serve as a helpful guide for an H-1B applicant preparing to apply or in the midst of the application process.
Planning Ahead for Your H-1B Visa Application
- Review which occupations are eligible for an H-1B visa and make sure you have the qualifications and are a foreign professional in a specialty occupation.
- Know which category fits your qualifications. The regular quota allows for 65,000 applications and is for qualified candidates who typically have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 6,800 of these spots are reserved for citizens of Singapore and Chile. The second category is the Master’s quota of 20,000 spots, and you must have completed a Master’s degree or higher.
- Make sure you have an employer to petition you. Without having a petitioning employer, you will be unable to follow any further steps to obtaining an H-1B visa. Note that you may have multiple employers file petitions, which may increase the chance of you being chosen.
- Because there is a quota for H-1B visas, make sure you know the date the filing window opens. You will want to have your petition in as soon as possible within this window, preferable as soon as it opens. In some years it has only been open for 5 days.
How to Prepare for Your Application
Before you apply for your H-1B visa you must have all the necessary requirements in order. These are all the things you need in order to be able to file the visa application itself.
- You must have an employer file a Labor Condition Application with the US Department of Labor.
- The LCA provides information about the occupation, the number of foreign workers that have been hired by the employer, and the wages to be paid.
- Prior to filing the LCA, the employer must have determined the “prevailing wage” for the job offered in the state of employment. The wage offered must be higher than or within 5% of the prevailing wage.
- The DOL will certify the Application if it has been completed properly and will provide the employer with an endorsed copy. This will be used later in support of the H-1B petition.
- The Employer will file the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) with the USCIS in the United States
- Once the Employer’s Petition is approved, the foreign national beneficiary will file their H-1B application with the US Consulate.
**Unique Case for Canadians: Canadians may simply go to a US Port of Entry with the approved Employer Petition and be admitted.
The H-1B Application
- Ensure your application is filled out as accurately and efficiently as possible. Double check all signatures are in and personal information is correct.
- File documents correctly and pay any required fees.
- Hire an immigration lawyer to review application materials and ensure you are providing the best evidence of your qualifications. Having a professional at your side can help ensure nothing is missing from your application, and make you a good candidate to be granted a visa.
Need Professional Help?
An immigration attorney can help ensure you are completing application materials and fulfilling requirements in the most effective way possible. Here at VisaPlace, we have years of experience with H-1B cases and will do our best to assist you with your application needs. If you would like to hire an immigration lawyer, you can book a consultation here. If you are unsure if you want to hire an immigration lawyer, we recommend you fill out our free online assessment, and we will contact you regarding your eligibility.
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