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H1B visa process, eligibility, application and requirements

Team AckoJan 13, 2023

The H1B visa is the key to unlocking your potential and beginning your journey to the United States. Every year, thousands of people visit the USA to work on H1B visas. Imagine yourself among them, exploring new horizons and experiencing different cultures, all while doing what you love. So why wait? Read ahead to get the necessary information about the H1B visa process, eligibility, application and requirements, and make your dream of working in the USA come true!

h1b-visa

Contents

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What is an H1B visa?

H1B visa meansyou have a golden ticket to work in the United States in a speciality occupation! But you need an employer to sponsor you first. 

H1B visa eligibility criteria

Before you start packing, make sure you meet these H1B visa requirements.

  • First step, make sure you have a bachelor’s degree, or even better, a Master's or Doctoral Degree to showcase your intelligence and qualifications. But don't worry, if you're a whiz at a particular skill or trade, that will work too! Additional training and vocational expertise will always make you stand out.

  • Your occupation has to be deemed "specialised" by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. So, show them that you have the know-how to excel in this niche field. And, of course, you should be able to demonstrate that you have the theoretical and practical knowledge to ace this specialised occupation.

  • Your employer must submit a labour condition describing the terms and conditions of their employment contract with you to the Department of Labor.

  • Also, there should be a lack of an American citizen equivalent who can take up the role.

  • Last but not least, you must have a current passport and show up for the visa interview at the closest U.S. consulate to you.

  • Pro tip: Make sure to clearly communicate to the officials that you're visiting the U.S. for work-related reasons and not just for leisure or personal pursuits.

Documents required for H1B visa process

Here are a few essential documents for obtaining an H1B visa.

  1. Passport copy

  2. Educational degrees, certificates, and transcripts

  3. Current employment letter

  4. Previous employment experience documentation

  5. Labor Certification Approval (LCA)

  6. Tax returns for the sponsoring U.S. company

  7. Correspondence received from Department of Justice

  8. Letter sent to Consular General of Indian Consulate

  9. Job Description with the US Sponsoring Company

  10. Current or valid U.S. licence

  11. Resume along with supporting certificates

  12. Payment for processing and issuance fee in the form of demand drafts

  13. Passport-sized coloured photographs (2-3)

  14. Marriage and birth certificates (if dependent members are travelling along)

Photographic specifications

When it comes to your visa photo, make sure it ticks off all the following boxes.

  • 2 inches by 2 inches in size, perfect for showing off your face.

  • Your head should be positioned in the picture so that it measures between 1 and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm), or think of it this way: your chin should be between 50% and 69% of the image's overall height.

  • The picture should have been captured in colour and recently in the past 6 months.

  • A pure white, shadow-free background, so you stand out.

  • Keep a neutral expression and both of your eyes open while posing.

  • Uniforms are a strict no-no!

  • If religious attire is worn, make sure it does not obscure your face or hairline.

  • Wear no electronics unless absolutely required for medical reasons.

  • Also, eyeglasses should not be worn unless they are a medical necessity.

H1B visa application process

In this section, we've got your back by breaking down the process of applying for an H1B visa into easy-to-follow steps.

  1. Check H1B Visa eligibility: The first step is to make sure you fulfil the prerequisites for applying for an H1B Visa. So, brush up on your qualifications and gather all the necessary documents.

  2. Find an employer willing to sponsor an H1B Visa: Look for an employer who's willing to sponsor your H1B Visa and open the doors to new opportunities..

  3. Submit an H1B petition: Once you've found an employer who's willing to sponsor you, the next step is to get the ball rolling by submitting your H1B petition.

  4. Apply for an H1B visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate: This is it! You've reached the final leg of the H1B Visa application journey, it's time to submit your application at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate. 

What are the fees for an H1B visa?

Applying for an H1B visa can come at a cost. But no need to worry, as most of the filing fees will be covered by the employer sponsoring you. Check out the H1B visa fees breakdown in the below table to get an idea of what to expect when getting an H1B visa.

Type of fee

Payer

Amount in dollars

Premium Processing (Optional)

Employer/applicant

$2,500

Public Law 114 – 113 fee

Employer

$4000

ACWIA Education & Training Fee

Employer

Business with less than 25 employees: $750, Business with more than 25 employees: $1500

Registration Fee

Employer

$10

USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee

Employer

$500

Attorney Fee

Employer

Variable

Basic Filing Fee (I-129 form)

Employer

$460

Benefits of H1B visa for Indians

Check out the amazing benefits of an H1B visa for Indians.

  • No limit on the number of H-1B visas you can apply for; the sky's the limit!

  • Your H1B visa opens the door for a green card or permanent residence for your loved ones, making it a win for your whole family.

  • If things don't work out with your employer, no worries! They'll cover the cost of your return trip home. Enjoy the free ride back!

H1B visa validity period

When it comes to your H1B visa, it's valid for a certain period of time, usually three years but can be extended up to six with the help of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act. And if you're in the process of applying for permanent residence, don't worry, you can still extend your stay for a limited time. However, if your H-1B visa is not extended before the end of the 6th year, you will have to take a time-out outside the U.S. for 1 year.

Your loved ones are in luck too! Dependents of the H-1B visa holders are allowed to stay in the U.S., they can apply for the H4 visa and join you in the new abode. Spouses and unmarried children below 21 can stay as long as your visa is valid. However, they won't be able to work. Fortunately, children are not prohibited from attending school in the U.S. Fun fact: H-1B2 holders working on defence projects get to stay in the U.S. for a whopping 10 years!

What is the H1B visa cap and lottery?

This section explains what the H1B visa cap and lottery mean. These terms can be a bit confusing, but we will make it easy for you to understand.

  • H1B Visa cap

Imagine a room full of people all trying to get through a single door; that's kind of like the H1B visa cap! Every year, the U.S. government only lets a certain number of people through the door with an H1B visa. It's a way to make sure the number of H1B visa holders stays within a certain limit. 

  • H1B visa lottery

As mentioned previously, the government only allows a certain number of visas to be given out each year. In some cases, the government holds a "lottery" pertaining to this visa. This is just an overview of the complex process; for details, please check out official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services sources.

Frequently asked questions

The frequently asked questions about the H1B visa are covered in this section.

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How long does it take for an H1B visa application to be processed?

The processing time for an H1B visa application can vary depending on a number of factors, including the workload of the specific USCIS service centre processing the application. On average, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months for an H1B visa application to be processed.

Where do I submit my H1B visa application?

You can submit your H1B visa application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the city where you want to work.

Who can sponsor my H1B visa?

An H1B visa must be sponsored by an employer in the United States. The employer must submit an H1B visa petition on behalf of the foreign worker and demonstrate that the job requires a worker with specialised knowledge and that the foreign worker is qualified for the job.

What does H1B stamping refer to?

H1B stamping refers to the process of obtaining an H1B visa at a U.S. Consulate or embassy abroad, after the H1B visa has been approved by the USCIS. Once the approval is received, the applicant must schedule an appointment for the visa interview and stamping process at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. This is when the applicant's passport will be stamped with the H1B visa, which allows the holder to enter the U.S. as an H1B worker.

If I don't have a receipt number, how can I find out the status of my H1B visa?

If you don't have a receipt number, you can check the status of your application by providing other identifying information, such as your name and date of birth.

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Disclaimer: The information mentioned on this page is compiled from different websites and government sources. The information may be updated from time to time. Hence, please refer to the respective government websites and verify before making any passport-related decisions.

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