H1B Visas: Answering the FAQs

H-1B visa is provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which permits a foreign worker to move to the US for the sake of employment. However, employment does not include all kinds of jobs. Still, only a few STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine) related jobs and the workers are barred from taking up the rest of the jobs to save them for the indigenous labor market.

H1B Visas: Answering the FAQs

How To Apply For An H1B Visa?

Applying for an H1B visa is a systematic yet very typical process. Many instances of applications getting rejected due to incomplete paperwork or wrong information have been reported.

The way to go for an H1B visa is a step-by-step process, and accuracy and precision at every step are important, not just at the end of the candidate but at the end of the employer too.

Here is a guide on all the steps of the H1B visa process.

Step 1: Find a Sponsor

Since H1B is an employee-sponsored visa, you need to find a visa sponsor, an employer hiring a significant percentage of H1B employees in their organization. Also, they must abide by all the conditions laid down by the USCIS.

Step 2: Get a Digital Photograph

The US Consulate requires you to get a digital photograph, and there are photographers specially designated for these kinds of photographs. They have the following specifications:

  • Square Shaped
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 pixels by 600 pixels.
  • Maximum dimensions: 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.
  • A colored photograph with 24 bit per pixel configuration.
  • JPEG format
  • File size: not more than 240 kB.

Step 3: Fill out the Visa Application Form

You need to fill out the visa application form carefully, don’t miss out on any fields as missing out on details can automatically reject your forms. This form is filled out online, and on completion of the form, you are provided with a ten-digit bar-code, which you need to keep with yourself at the time of the interview.  You can log onto the US visa service website to register for the visa, and therein, you will be given options for payment. It can be transferred via an account or a card transfer.

Step 4. The Visa Interview:

There are 2 different phases of the visa interview. One is the biometric interview, where details like your fingerprints and other details are asked for. This is conducted at the Visa Application Centre and is carried out to reduce congestion. The second stage is the personal interview, which is conducted at the US Consulate. Carry all your documents for the personal interview.

What are the Most Important Requirements?

Besides the specialty jobs clause restriction, the following are some of the key things one needs to fulfill to qualify for an H-1B visa –

1.) The candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree from any American University (or) if he holds a bachelor’s degree from any foreign university. It must be proved as equivalent to that of the USA.

2.) If the specialty occupation requires a License to be practiced in the United States, then the H-1B visa seeker must possess one such thing.

3.) The employer who wishes to offer the job must be an “American Employer,” and he needs to prove that the particular job requires a professional’s services.

4.) Besides STEM-related occupations, there are some exceptions, like Accountant, Economist, Librarians, social workers, etc., who were eligible to apply for an H-1B visa.

5.) The nature of the job should be complex in nature to be performed only by those who hold a particular degree or have sufficient expertise in that field.

What’s the Cost of an H-1B Visa?

H-1B visa is mandatory for foreign nationals to work in the USA, and they cannot directly apply for it. Instead, an H-1B visa petition will be applied by the employer, and most probably, all the costs associated with H-1B are borne by the employer himself. The final price of an H-1B visa varies from company to company, depending upon the total number of foreign workers hired by that entity.

The basic filing fee of an H-1B visa will be around 325$. This fee is non-refundable once paid, and the price may rise for a person applying in a foreign country. For all those entities whose total strength of foreign workers exceeds more than 50 percent, the employer must pay an additional 4000$.

The employer pays a fraud prevention and detection fee of $500. The Immigration Attorney fee varies from 1500-3000 $ depending upon the migration attorney’s experience and skills, and this cost will also be borne by the employer as mandated by law. Mostly start-up companies tend to .appoint an attorney for applying for an H-1B visa as they lack expertise in the area.

For hasty procurement of an H-1B visa, the employer can pay an additional fee of $ 1,250. However, one must specify the reason for the urgency to acquire an H-1B visa. H-1B visa stamping fee has to be paid by the employee, and it varies from country to country. Therefore on average, the total cost of procuring an H-1B visa will cost around 9,000 to 1,000 $.

Will Having Previous Work Experience Make it Easier for You to Get an H1B Visa?

Some changes include restricting the lottery cap and emphasizing a stricter screening procedure for shortlisting the candidates. This move has left many H1B aspirants in a tizzy as the visa process has apparently become much harder.

In such a scenario, it becomes important to analyze some important questions. One of them is if previous work experience will brighten your chances of making it to the selected few who get to be in America.

The truth is, America is now looking for a talented workforce to contribute to its economy, and rightfully so. When thousands of immigrants are already flocking to this nation instead of opportunities, the authorities need to ascertain the most deserving candidate. Is it someone who is a liability on the corporations and has to learn many things before being suitable to work in the environment, or should someone who has seen it all and done it all and knows how to operate in a stressful work environment?

The American Consulate will now prefer the latter. In his address, Trump has made it very clear that only the most skilled candidates will make it to the US. They will otherwise prefer their own citizens to dominate the workforce. If they must hire any foreign nationals, they must be the best of the lot.

What additional work experience does is give you practical exposure to what you’ve studied in your college tenure theoretically. Moreover, this adds up to your resume, and you are much better equipped to work in a competitive market such as the US. The experience will count as a skill set when you apply for the visa, so having additional work experience apart from a degree in a specialty occupation will widen your possibility of getting through.

Why is Documentation and Keeping Records Important for an H1B Visa?

The most important part of your H1B visa application is your documents. Many people question the veracity of this statement. Still, the truth is that your documents alone will establish your proof of birth, proof of residence, your educational qualifications, and your agreement with the employer regarding your appointment. No matter how automated and technology-oriented this world may get, the value of a piece of paper for your credentials is undisputed. The verification of your employer is also done on this basis.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Everything is indispensable for an employer to file, from the employer-employee verification to the evidence of payscale, appointment, and a labor condition application.

There are so many visa applications that have got rejected on these sole criteria. Incomplete, unverified documents or inadequate records and copies have led to rejections of applicants’ most promising. The US Consulate needs to be sure of your qualifications, and the necessary criteria followed.

The only thing that can prove this is all your paperwork- all your payslips, previous passports, degree and diploma certificates, bank account and income tax return papers, and more. For employers, the workplace photographs, along with the LCA, employee description, and the offer letter, are invaluable.


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