What is an H1B Visa & How to Apply for one
The H1B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to authorize foreign workers to work and get a salary in America. It is a temporary work permit that allows foreigners to work for companies in the US for a specific duration.
The underlying condition is that the worker should have specialized skills related to the field of work they have been hired for.
How Do I Know If I am Eligible for H1B Visa?
Before you apply for the visa, you should carefully check whether you fulfill all the eligibility criteria, such as:
- The applicant should have a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or its foreign equivalent)
- The degree should be relevant to the job for which the applicant has been employed
- The applicant should have deep knowledge of the field of work
- The job should be one that needs a professional in a specialty role
- The employer should prove that there is a dearth of US applicants for the post.
If you satisfy all these conditions, then you can go ahead and apply for the visa.
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H1B Visa Application Process
There are a number of steps involved in the process of obtaining an H1B visa.
Step 1: Find a Visa Sponsor
The first step is to ensure is that your US employer is willing to sponsor your visa application. At the time of being hired by a company, make sure they are ready to bear all the costs. Many US companies will ask this question during your job application process. If you are not asked whether you will require sponsorship to enter the US, then you should initiate the discussion.
Step 2: Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) Submitted by the Employer
Once you are hired, your employer will start the application process and submit the Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL) in the US. This document informs the DOL about the various factors related to your job, such as salary, work location and work environment.
Step 3: Form I-129 Submitted by the Employer
Following the approval of the LCA by the DOL, Form I-129 will be filed by the company. This is the petition pertaining to non-immigrant workers. In order to successfully complete this step, the employer must attach the fees, documents related to education, work experience, applicant’s résumé, employment agreement and letter of support.
It can take up to 3 to 4 months for the petition to be processed by the service center. To speed up the process, there is an option of premium processing, which involves an extra fee.
Step 4: Complete the Application at a US Consulate or Embassy
Once your petition is approved, you need to apply for the visa in your home country. You will need to fill in the H1-B visa application form and book appointments at the Visa Application Center and US embassy or consulate in your home country. The former is to provide biometric readings, while the latter is for the visa interview, which is the last step in the process.
Keep in mind that the process requires complete honesty and accuracy of documents and information from your end. Make sure you answer all questions honestly and confidently at the interview too.