USA H1b Visa Requirements and Application – Ultimate Guide
USA H1b Visa Requirements and Application: The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows firms in USA to hire foreign employees with particular talents to work in the USA for a limited time. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent is typically required for the positions. H-1B visa holders often work in sectors such as technology, finance, engineering, architecture, and others.
Read More: Germany Student Visa from Qatar 2023
H1b Visa Requirements
To be qualified for an H1B visa, you must have the following qualifications:
- A genuine employment offer from a U.S. firm for a position requiring specialized skills.
- A bachelor’s degree or equivalent expertise in that discipline is required.
- Your company must demonstrate that there is a scarcity of eligible U.S. applicants for the position.
H1b Visa Photo Requirements
- In JPEG (.jpg) file format.
- Equal to or less than 240 kB (kilobytes) in file size.
- In a square aspect ratio (height must equal width)
- 600×600 pixels in dimension.
Understanding The H-1B Visa Cap
You may need to register with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and be selected to apply before you may enter the United States under the H-1B classification and begin working.
Because there is a high demand for this visa, the number of visas that can be awarded each year is limited. The cap is set to 65,000 visas per fiscal year in 2023. If you have a master’s degree from a U.S. institution, you’re in luck: an additional 20,000 visas are available for individuals with a master’s degree or higher. If your employer is a higher education institution, a nonprofit organization affiliated with a higher education institution, or a government research organization, the visa cap does not apply.
If you want to apply for an H-1B visa and your occupation is subject to the cap, you must electronically register with USCIS to enter a lottery. To do so, you must first register an online account with USCIS. If you currently have a myUSCIS online account, you must create a new account for the registration process.
Then you must pay a registration fee and provide basic information about the company that is sponsoring you, as well as some personal information. An attorney or representative can also open an account and register on your behalf.
Every year, the registration period lasts only 14 days. You will be unable to apply for an H-1B visa if you do not register and your occupation is not exempt from the cap.
You will be able to view your status in your USCIS account once you have enrolled. If you have filed through an attorney or a representative, they will be able to see your status on their account.
Your account will display one of the following statuses:
- You have entered your registration, which is valid.
- You have been chosen to apply for an H-1B visa.
- You were not chosen to apply for an H-1B visa at this time.
- Denied: If you apply for an H-1B visa with the same company many times, USCIS will consider all of your registrations invalid.
- Invalidated-Failed Payment: You registered, but your payment was unsuccessful.
After the registration time has ended, USCIS will notify you if you have been chosen. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must select your register if you want to apply for an H-1B visa. If you are not chosen, USCIS will notify you or your representative after the H-1B cap for that year has been reached.
How Much Does the H-1B Visa Cost?
The H-1B lottery registration fee is $10. If the candidate is approved for an H-1B visa, the employer must pay $460 to file Form I-129 (Request for Nonimmigrant Worker). Aside from that, charges vary based on the size of the organization, the cost of expediting the application, whether or not the H-1B applicant is changing employment, and attorney fees.
IMPORTANT: The government filing fees for most visa applications could skyrocket as early as summer 2023. The current projected fee for filing Form I-129 will rise from $460 to $1,385—a 201% increase. The pre-registration price may also be raised by 2050%, from $10 to $215.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed plans in January to raise filing fees for most visa types, including marriage green cards and those upgrading status to green cards. The proposed levies are not yet in place, but Boundless is constantly monitoring all government updates.
The H-1B Visa Process
If you are chosen to apply for an H-1B visa, your employer can start the process by filing a petition on your behalf.
To do so, your employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for Certification to the Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA’s goal is to confirm that your employer will pay you the same wage as other similarly qualified workers in the same geographic area and that your working conditions will not have an adverse effect on other employees.
After the DOL has certified the LCA, your employer must complete Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and submit both the LCA and the I-129 to USCIS, together with any fees and extra paperwork. Other documents may include proof of your schooling, any training certificates or professional membership paperwork, if applicable, your resume, a letter of employment confirmation, a letter of support, and any appropriate costs.
If your Form I-129 is granted, you have two alternatives, depending on whether you are already in the United States.
If you are currently in the United States on another visa category, you must wait until your H-1B visa status becomes valid before you can begin working.
If you are not in the United States, you must apply for consular processing. To do so, you must fill out Form DS-160, which will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. You must also pay an application fee and schedule an interview in a US embassy or consulate near you.
Once you’ve scheduled an interview, you’ll need to provide documents like:
- It’s your passport. This should be valid for at least six months after your scheduled date of entry into the US.
- A copy of your Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- A copy of your I-129 petition approval and I-797 approval.
- Receipts proving payment of application costs.
- A passport-sized photo of yourself that meets US State Department standards.
H-1B visa holders can currently apply for a green card. However, there may be significant delays. This means that any children who migrated with you may “age out” of their H-1B visa-related visa status. If they turn 21 before their green card is issued, they will need to apply for another visa, such as a student visa, to stay. The Biden administration may change this, as well as make it easier for H-1B visa holders’ dependents to obtain work authorization.
If you plan to move from an H-1B visa to a family or marriage green card, Boundless can assist you. Learn more about how Boundless can assist you in making the transition seamlessly.
H1b Visa Employer Requirements
- On Form I-129, act as the Sponsor/Petitioner.
- The US Department of Labor has approved the Condition Application.
- Submit the LCA to the appropriate job site.
- Notify government agencies of significant changes.
- Notify government agencies of your resignation.
H1b Visa Sponsor Company Requirements
In order to sponsor an H1B visa, an employer must demonstrate:
- The post necessitates expertise obtained through an advanced educational institution or through special training.
- The position necessitates a certain course of study.
- A B.A. is required for the post.
- To be eligible for an H1B, an employee must show:
- If required, full state licensure.
- A finished degree in a field closely linked to the position or equivalent experience in the field.
- Expertise in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I expedite my H-1B visa?
Yes, premium processing for the H1B visa is available. To seek premium processing, fill out Form I-907, seek Premium Processing Service, and send it to USCIS along with the filing fee. This can be done at the same time as your Form I-129 petition.
If you have already filed your petition, you can request premium processing at a later date by submitting your form to the same service center where you filed your initial Form I-129.
Can I travel outside the U.S. on an H1B visa?
Having a valid visa permits you to enter the United States through a port of entry. If you leave the United States for travel and then return, as long as your H-1B visa is still valid, you may be permitted to re-enter the country on H-1B status. You may want to carry proof of your work or visa status with you to the border.
Where do I file my H1-B visa application?
If your H-1B visa is within the cap and you have been chosen to apply for a visa, your selection notification will inform you of the USCIS address where you can file your application. If the H1-B visa cap does not apply to you, for example, if you work for a university, you can file your application at the USCIS California service center.
Who can sponsor the H-1B visa?
Any employer in the United States can sponsor an H-1B visa. The employer can register to file a petition on your behalf as long as they have an IRS Tax ID Number.
Can I apply for an H-1B visa if I don’t have a job first?
Because the H-1B visa is an employment-based visa that requires your employer to complete specific paperwork on your behalf, you must have a job offer before you can apply for the H-1B visa.
Will my family be able to come with me, if I hold an H-1B visa?
Yes, you can bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 on H-4 visas.
Who is eligible for the H1B1 visa?
The H-1B1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for Chilean and Singaporean nationals working in specialty occupations in the United States. The annual H1B1 visa ceiling is 6,800, with 1,400 from Chile and 5,400 from Singapore.
What is the minimum salary to file for an H-1B visa?
The employer who files the H-1B petition must provide documentation to the Department of Labor (DOL) that the employee will be paid the prevailing wage or the employer’s real wage, whichever is higher. The prevailing wage is the compensation paid to workers in similar occupations in the same geographic area, whereas the real wage is the salary paid to employees in similar roles by the employer.