Tag Archives: visa quota

The 10 Steps To Your E3 or H1B Visa and Work

OK i just wanted to do a quick note on the outline of getting your visa so it is an easy reference post with not too much fluff for people so they get an overview. I am not sure either if there are exactly 10 steps but it sounds like a nice round number so lets start writing and see how many major steps there are.

Step 1. Find An Employer (Visa Sponsor) – without going into too much detail as I will ina later post my favourite sites include craigslist.org, monster.com and linkedin.com for searching

Step 2. Have The Employer Fill Out The Sponsorship Document and Pay The Relavent Filing Fees – I guess technically you could do this on their behalf and pay for it and then have them send it but chances if it is a reputable employer they will do it all probably via their attorneys. For H1B this requires filing to both US Immigration and Department of Labor and for E3 just Department of Labor.

Step 3. Understand Your Dates – For E3 this is relatively simple as the forms can be filed all year around and although their is an annual quota it has never been reached and you can begin employment at any time. As for H1B this is more complicated as there is annual filing date of April 1 and hard quotas as well. Even if you get your approval and your visa from the consulate you cannot begin employment until October 1 that year.

Step 4, Make you Interview – When you have or anticipate to have all your documents both from your employer and the ones you have to prepare yourself along with fees, photos and other proof documents ready then book an interview with your closed US consulate that can process that type of visa. Every country and sometimes city has different wait times, methods of interview, turnaround times, etc. so be prepared

Step 5. Book Your Ticket – Depending on how brave and confident you are, you could have done this earlier on in anticipation of getting your visa but in any case I will put it here. Be prepared at your port of entry into the US especially if you have an E3 visa (as it is largely unheard of even by Immigration staff at the border) to answer potential questions. Don’t worry if you have all in order you will be fine, although it may seem tense depending on the person you get. I have had both awesome and not so good people.

Step 6. Get A Social Security Number – This is essentially your key to living in the US and is vital from everything to opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone, credit cards, signing a lease, potentially getting paid…although with a lot of these things technically it is not required but you have to do a lot of talking to superiors and no what you are talking about (I will discuss this in a later post). You can only do this from within the country and it can take up to 6 weeks for them to send you your card and number but usually it is 2-4 weeks.

Step 7. Start Work!!

Well what do you know I guess it was only 7 steps…and like I said there is more detail and tips to the steps above which I will cover in the future as well as steps in between like finding a place to live, best phone plans, discounts, etc. but this at least is a high level overview of your journey.

Bon Voyage 🙂



H1Base….in my opinion

Its funny while I am writing this post I have a chat window open for Live Chat Support at H1Base which tells me I have 0 people in front of me and I have 1 minute wait time, yet nobody comes.

I don’t recommend these people or company in any way or whatever it claims to be and this is the reason why and if you have a different story, please feel free to share in the comments section.

Before I first moved to the US to live 3 years ago, I like you was lost and did searches online and H1Base came up in the paid listing in Google along with numerous other people proporting to help you get a work visa (for a fee of course!).

Now after browsing through most of them H1Base seemed the most reputable as it provided genuinely helpful information and didn’t ask to charge you the moment you entered the site as most others did. Additionally the US Diversity Visa Lottery (or Green Card Lottery as it is more commonly known) run by the US State Department was mentioned on there as a simple form you could complete yourself to enter. This is entirely true, it takes all of 5 minutes and is as basic as a form could be and is FREE to enter. However many sites charge a fee to do this for you, claiming all sorts of things and difficulties you may have.
To me the only difficulty you could possibly have  is if you can’t read or speak English. However if that is your issue you wouldn’t be able to understand the site asking for your money anyway 🙂

So I digress, H1Base seemed reputable. It had as one of their offerings at the time and still does when I look at the site a guaranteed job finding service that will not stop until they secure you a H1B visa job (or E3) and you get your visa. On the face of it that sounds awesome given the relatively low price you have to pay (currently under $200USD) but has one major flaw. Ultimately regardless of whether they even do find you a job, there are a few bridges to cross.

Firstly the USCIS (US Customs and Immigration Service) formerly known as the INS, and Department of Labor have to approve separate petitions of the company willing to employ you and pay relevant costs.

If you pass that hurdle then you have the significant hurdle of the Quota for H1B (there is a quota for E3 too although has yet to filled in any year it has been running). H1B applications open each year on April 1 and the last 2 years at least they received in excess of 100,000 application on that first day alone.
So you can see instantly there is an issue. There is huge demand and even if you have ticked every box 100% successfully up to this point you can still lose out here very easily because there is an element of luck involved. Granted there are things that can help having a US Masters Degree or higher (which would have most likely cost you a lot already) which puts you under a different cap, working for an approved  non-profit/government/education institution which are often uncapped, paying the Premium Filing Fee (an extra $1,000) to help expedite your case and have access to your case officer by phone, etc. but in the end this is still out of yours (and H1Base’s hands).

Finally you have to be approved by the US Consulate that you apply too and you can be rejected there for a whole host of reasons either because of something to do with you or the company or both. Consulate’s are funny entities and can operate completely differently depending on the city or country you apply. Generally if you have paid all the fees, you haven’t lied about anything yourself, there is no criminal history, the company documents and fees are in order, etc. you should be fine but there are certainly no guarantees.

So H1Base claim of guarantee of a job and a visa does not mean much when they have no say over 95% of the process!

Now the suspicious aspect of this all for me is that (by the way I am still waiting for that live chat support I mentioned at the beginning) when I was in Australia and I emailed them asking for help, they answered all my questions quickly and fully and seemed very friendly. When I moved to the US initially under a J1 visa and was looking for a permanent work position and contacted them for help via email mentioning I was in Boston, I never once got a response.

Given I was in the US I also thought I would call their numbers as well but the numerous times I tried during normal business hours (given they are supposedly based in Florida and same timezone as me) i went through an endless look of automated answering options and no matter what options I picked I always ended up at a voicemail at the end. Very Suspicious I Think!!

When you look at their site they supposedly have recommendations from Monster and CNN and Universities and maybe its true and maybe it isn’t or it has been taken out of context but I’ll bet if those institutions knew about my experiences they may think twice about their comments.

Anyway I will be back soon again for more help….but otherwise Happy Searching!

CJ (still no response from their Live Chat…surprise, surprise!)

P.S. as a side note, read one of their ridiculous newsletter headlines and then obvious comments from someone from their company below the post (even though he can’t admit it)