Obtaining a H1B visa can be a tedious task for a newbie. H1B visa is given to individuals who have been employed by an organization within the US. Hundreds of foreign employees are recruited every year in order to fill the vacant positions requiring special skills and knowledge. These positions are opened to candidates residing outside US because of lack of match between the qualification and the requirement.
The dream of working in US comes with perks as well as complicacies. While being aware of the perks is easy, you might not be aware of the H1B visa procedure. This guide introduces you to the entire process and requirements that you need to fulfill in order to obtain H1B working visa. This will also give you much clarity about the H4 visa which you might desire to apply for your dependents.
What Is This Visa All About?
The H1B Work Visa is non-immigrant and solely employment-based in nature. It provides you with the permission necessary to enter the US to work for an organization that has already employed you. This work permit is approved only when an employee demonstrates excellence in a specialized body of knowledge.
H1B visa is also applicable for individuals working development projects, fashion models (for example, Melania Trump), and Department-of-Defense Cooperative researchers. Both Visa fees and documents are respectively paid and processed by the employer at the beginning. There is a cap of 65,000 H1B visas since the year 2015. However, there is an additional 20,000 visa cap for foreigners who have completed their graduation degree from an academic institution within the US.
The H1B visa comes with a validity of three years. With necessary paperwork, you will be able to extend it to maximum six years. However, this rule of extension may change depending on one’s nature of work. For example, the Defense employees are not subject to this rule of validity till six years. Shall you decide to quit the job and join a new company, you can always apply for status change with required documents. In such cases, you will have 60 days to find a new job or apply for permanent residency with green card. Failure to do either of the above-mentioned will lead you to deportation.
Your sponsor is legally liable to bear the cost of the return ticket if you quit the job and decide to go back to your country of origin instead of finding another job in US. Family members dependent on you can come to the USA on H4 visa. Further application for Employment Authorization Document allows them to seek employment in USA.
A H4 visa holder is eligible to attend school, receive a social security number, obtain driver’s license and so forth. Indians have been receiving the largest number of H1B visas over last 10 years with China being in the second position. Once the H1B visa holder has his or her visa expired, the H4 visa holders will have to return to the country of origin as well.
H1B Visa Application Process
You can either go for regular processing or premium processing while applying for H1B Visa Program. Premium processing costs an individual an additional amount of $1225 and is processed within 15 days. Regular processing can be a time-consuming affair and may take up to 6 months. The application process is as follows:
1. Acceptance of Employee:
Once you accept the job offer, your employee i.e. the sponsor company will file a H1B visa petition on your behalf.
2. Determination of the Wage:
The sponsor company determines the actual wage depending on the prevailing wage offered to employees working at the same experience level.
3. Labor Certification Application:
The Labor Certification Application is filed by the sponsor company stating that your employment will have no adverse impact on the condition of other employees. Once approved, the company receives the certified copy of the LCA.
4. Visible Notice Posting:
Now the sponsor companies require to either post notices at clearly visible places at their premises or send the filing notice to the collective bargaining representative.
5. Filing of H1B:
Now the employee needs to file the H1B petition along with form I-129, agreement of employment and other necessary documents.
6. Processing of H1B:
Depending on the need portrayed by the sponsor company, the USCIS will approve the H1B petition and issue the visa as well.
7. Applicant Notified:
The applicant is notified once the receipt is issued by the USCIS. The applicant will receive notice from his or her sponsor as well.
8. Petition Approved:
Upon successful approval, Form I-797 is given to the individual. Obtaining Form I-797 is synonymous to the H1B visa. The applicant can now apply for visa for him and his dependents with this approval notice.
H1B Documents and Information Required to File a Visa Application
You will need the following documents in order to file an application for the H1B visa:
1. Resume and Passport
2. Degree Certificates along with transcripts
3. Employment Reference-Letters from past employers
4. Professional Development-Certificates, if any
5. Educational Certificates including courses, diplomas etc.
6. Professional License (if any)
The sponsor company or the employer will provide the following information:
1. Job Description along with salary offered
2. Requirements for the job role offered
3. Name & Job Title of the employee
4. Details of the Company: Name as well as Address and Informational Brochures
5. Employer Federal-Tax ID Number
6. Contact details of the sponsor including phone and fax number
7. Client Site-Letter and other official documents
Shall you desire to apply H4 visa for your dependents, you will need the following documents:
1. Full name, date of birth of dependents
2. Marriage Certificate (for spouse)
3. Birth Certificate (for children)
4. Dependent’s passports
According to a report, about two-third of the H1B visa applications arise from the discipline of Engineering, Mathematics, Technology and Science. The policy memorandum brought into public domain in 2018 has created the provision for issuance of the Notice-to-Appear i.e. NTA.
NTA is given to those who have an expired H1B visa or are denied status change. In such instances, the employee will have to appear before an immigration judge to get voluntary departure granted. Applicants receiving NTA are not allowed to be employed. Leaving US without the grant ordered by the immigration judge will result into a ban for five years during which you can’t enter the US.
Neha Yadav is the Sr. HR Executive at Radvision World Consultancy Services LLP. 2.4 year of experience in Human resource & End to End Recruitment, revenue growth, top talent retention, and multi-industry IT & Non-IT Both operations to ultimately meet and exceed to hire top talent as per client expectations.