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H1B Visa Application, Extension & Transfer Process

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.

Guest Post Author
H1B Extension

H-1B Visa Tips For FY2011 Application Filing on April 1, 2010

Now that the Fiscal Year 2010 H-1B cap subject visa quota has been filled (as of December 21, 2009), it is time to focus on H-1B cap-subject visa filings for Fiscal Year 2011, which will start being accepted by USCIS on April 1, 2010. If you are thinking of filing an H-1b visa application on April 1, 2010, now is the time to get started with the process. Please see below for some common tips in preparing to file an H-1b visa application.

Tip #1 – You must have a job offer: If you do not already have a job offer for a position that meets the H-1b visa requirements, you must find one before filing your application. You cannot submit an H-1b visa application without the sponsorship of an employer who wants to employ you in an H-1b caliber position. There is no way around this rule.

Tip #2 – Make sure your job offer meets the H-1b specialty occupation requirements: The position you are seeking to fill must require at a minimum either a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or the equivalent.

Tip #3 – You must have the right background: You must meet the minimum requirements for the H-1b position being offered to you. This means you must have the right bachelor’s degree or the equivalent through work experience or a combination of work experience and education. Likewise, if the position requires a certain credential or licensing, you must have this as well.

Tip #4 – Find an immigration lawyer well-versed in the H-1b visa process to work with: This is one of the most important tips! Filing an H-1b visa is highly complicated and nuanced. The slightest error or oversight can result in a rejection or denial. Furthermore, with increased scrutiny being applied by USCIS, the application process has become even technical.

Tip #5 – Work Closely with your immigration lawyer: It is important to understand that your immigration lawyer is your advocate and that he/she has the same desired goal as you, which is the approval of your application. With that said, it is important for you to provide your immigration lawyer with all requested information and details concerning all aspects of your application.

Tip #6 – Understand that your start date cannot be any earlier than October 1, 2010: If you’re applying for a cap-subject H-1b visa on April 1, 2010, you cannot request a start date earlier than October 1, 2010. This means that you must figure out what you’re going to do until that time. If you will remain in the U.S. it is imperative that you maintain lawful nonimmigrant status.

Tip #7 – Understand that you may not apply for a cap-subject H-1b visa until April 1, 2010: The 85,000 H-1b visa quota (65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap) for Fiscal Year 2011 does not start until April 1, 2010.

Tip #8 – Understand that there are a limited number of H-1b cap-subject visas available: Every year there are only 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap H-1b visas available. Last year the cap remained open for the regular cap from April 1, 2009, to December 21, 2009 (about 7.5 months). In the years’ prior to last year, the quota remained open for a day or two with lotteries being conducted right away because of the large number applications received. It is anyone’s guess as to what the situation will be like on April 1, 2010; however, the demand is expected to be higher than what it was on April 1, 2009. As such, you should plan on being prepared to file your H-1b visa application by April 1, 2010.

Guest Author

Douglas Lightman