The H1B is a non-immigrant visa available for foreign individuals, which permits them to work on US soil in certain specialty occupations.
The general process for applying for a H1B visa include-
- The candidate must be employed by a US H1B visa employer (sponsor)
- The sponsor then petitions for a H1B visa on behalf of the candidate, to the US Immigration Bureau
- The Immigration Bureau considers the application, and then either approves or discards the request
- In case the application for a H1B visa is approved, the candidate is now permitted to work on US soil for his/her employer
Applying for a H1B work permit should be undertaken carefully, as the form is liable to be rejected in case of any discrepancy or erroneous entries. The following things need to be taken care of while filing the application for H1B visa
- In order to apply for a H1B permit, the sponsor/employer must first file a Labor Condition of Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and then file a petition for non-immigrant individuals they wish to employ with approved LCA and supporting document evidence with the USCIS (Form I-129).
The LCA filed by the sponsor with the DOL provides information about the company and agrees on certain working conditions. The employer must provide the wage level of the H1B worker, and also certify that the working conditions are conducive for all workers. After the approved LCA is returned by the DOL, the sponsor can file a petition for a H1B permit with the ISCIS with proper supporting documents.
- H1B visas can be filed in two ways- either using the regular service, or using the premium processing service. The regular filing process takes a lot of time, so employers looking for faster processing are advised to opt for the premium processing filing.
- The USCIS allows the provision for a H4 visa for the family of the candidate filing the H1B petition. The H4 is a similar non-immigrant visa that allows the holder to reside in the USA for a certain period of time. However, H4 visa holders are not allowed to work in the USA. The H4 visa, however allows them to study in the US.
- In many cases, the USCIS requires an evaluation of the credentials of the candidate, to ensure that the candidate’s degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree. The candidate must also provide proper supporting documents, such as degree certificates(s), mark sheets, etc. This process goes on simultaneously with the LCA approval process, so it does not delay the approval process.
- Approximately after 4 to 10 weeks, there is a Receipt Notice of Action sent to the sponsor by the USCIS, indicating that they are beginning the processing of the application, in case they are satisfied with the file, they send an Approval Notice of Action within 30-90 days of the receipt notice. In some cases, the USCIS may request some clarification or information before approving the application.
- Finally, when the approval is received, the worker may start working for the employer in the U.S. after having their visas issued and stamped from the U.S. Embassy.
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