H1B Visa Process

Learn About H1B Visa Application Process, LCA For H1B And H1B Visa Documents.

Applying For The H1B Visa

You cannot apply for an H1B visa as an individual. A U.S. employer has to sponsor your H1B visa. To sponsor you, the employer must:

  • File a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor
  • File USCIS Form I-129, Petition for nonimmigrant worker with H supplement and supporting documentation and the approved LCA with the USCIS

If you are overseas, you must take the H1B approval notice to the American Consulate to obtain the H1B visa. If you are already in the U.S., you can start working for your employer as soon as you receive the H1B approval notice.

Note: If you are currently on H1B status, then you can start working for a new employer upon filing of the new petition.

Check My Eligibility

A. Filing The H1B LCA (Labor Condition Application)

The Labor Condition Application or Attestation is filed on DOL Form ETA-9035 and is submitted through the DOL iCERT website

1. The employer must attest to the Department of Labor that:

a. The wage level offered to you (the H1B employee) is greater of the actual wage level paid to all other individuals similarly employed at the place of employment, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of employment is based on the best information available

b. The working conditions offered to you will not adversely affect other workers similarly employed. Working conditions commonly refer to matters “including hours, shifts, vacation periods, and fringe benefits”

c. There is no strike or lockout in the occupational classification at the place of employment

d. A notice has been provided to the bargaining representative if any, or posted a notice that a labor condition application has been filed. The notice must be posted in two or more conspicuous places for a ten-day period and shall contain certain information

2. Your employer may file an H1B LCA electronically through the DOL iCERT website

a. Mail
An employer with physical disabilities that prevent them from filing electronically may submit written request to file the LCA by mail. Only upon approval of the written request can an employer use the mail.

B. Filing The H1B Petition

An H1B petition is filed on USCIS Form I-129, along with the Form I-129H supplement and the approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) Form ETA-9035 from the U.S. Department of Labor. Your H1B petition documents must include:

1. Evidence that the proposed employment qualifies as a specialty occupation

2. Evidence that you have the required degree by submitting either:

a. A copy of your U.S. baccalaureate or higher which is required by the specialty occupation

b. A copy of your foreign degree and evidence it is equivalent to a U.S. degree

c. Evidence of experience and education, which is equivalent to the U.S. baccalaureate degree

3. A copy of any required licenses or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment

4. A copy of any written contract between you and your employer, and a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which you will be employed

C. Premium Processing of Your H1B Petition

You may have your H1B petition adjudicated within 15 calendar days by applying for H1B premium processing.

For an additional fee of US $1,440, the USCIS guarantees a prompt decision on your H1B petition. You will receive either an approval notice, a request for further evidence, a notice of intent to deny the petition, or a notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within 15 calendar days from the date you applied for H1B premium processing. If it fails to respond within 15 calendar days, it will refund the $1,440 fee and continue to process the petition under the expedited process.

D. Applying For The H1B Visa At An American Consulate

To apply for the H1B visa, you must furnish the original or copy of the Notice of Action, Form I-797A or B (the approval notice forwarded to your employer when the petition is approved). Your visa application must include the following documents:

  1. DOS Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  2. A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page
  3. A color photograph showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member
  4. Your resume and education transcripts.
  5. A copy of the H1B petition submitted to the USCIS.

Duration of Stay

Under current law, you can be in H1B status for a maximum period of six years at a time. After that time you must remain outside the U.S. for one year before another H1B petition can be approved. However, foreign nationals working on defense department projects may remain in H1B status for ten years.

Note: You can be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition, apply for adjustment of status, or take other steps toward lawful permanent resident status without affecting your H1B status.

Spouse and Children

Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join you in the U.S. for the duration of your stay can apply for H4 visas.

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