H1B Visa: What it is & the requirements and process

Posted by Camilo Espinosa on July 18, 2017

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The H-1B is a visa category that applies to foreigners who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation within the United States. A position that falls within the specialty occupation category must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A Bachelor's degree or higher or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a Bachelor's or higher degree

If the job you’re applying for meets one of these criteria, in order for you to quaify to accept the offer, you must meet one of the following:

  • Have a completed U.S. bachelor's degree or higher required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor's degree or higher in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty

After ensuring you are qualified to recieve an H-1B visa, there is another aspect to consider before you request it. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a cap for the amount of visas they can give out (65,000 H-1B Regular cap and 20,000 H-1B Master’s exemption). These are submitted at the beginning of the fiscal year (FY), which is April 1st of each year. To increase your chances of getting an H-1B visa, your petition needs to be completed and ready to send before this date.

The Application process is as follows:
  • Step 1: The employer applies for a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).
  • Step 2: The employer files Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker.
  • Step 3: If the H-1B worker who is outside the United States needs an H-1B visa, he/she can apply with the United States Department of State at a US embassy or consulate.
  • Step 4: The prospective H-1B worker applies to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States in H-1B category.

You will have to pay several fees for an H-1B visa as well. These should be submitted by check or a money order from a bank or other financial institution located in the United States and must be addressed to the Department of Homeland Security.

An important thing to note in respect to this process is that the employer can only file one petition for the same employee during a fiscal year. The USCIS can deny and even revoke petitions if there are duplicates. However, if you’re a petitioner that filed a H-1B petition on time but there’s a problem with the delivery service, you may file a second petition with an explanation as to why a second petition is being filed, with evidence that supports the explanation and a request to withdraw the first petition filed for the previous H-1B cap (you will need to pay a new fee).

The H1B Visa application and overall process can be tedious and time consuming. If you want profession help, schedule a free 1 hour consultation with Loigica today.

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Topics: H1B Visa, Immigration