H1B Work Visa for US
H1B Work Visa for US
The United States of America is the ultimate dream destination for people from all across the globe to work, study, and settle. Being the most powerful economy in the world, the US provides the most lucrative opportunities to work, settle, and start a life you have always dreamed of.
If you are planning to work in the US and wondering about the best way to enter this “land of opportunities,” then your answer is an H1B visa.
The H1B visa is the most popular type of US work visa for Indians. It allows you to work in the States for a fixed period of time and benefit from its growing economy.
In this post, you will find everything you need to know about the H1B visa, including the H1B visa process, eligibility, documents required, and a few other important details. Read on!
What is an H1B Visa?
The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant, employment-based or work visa designed for temporary workers who want to work and live in the United States of America for a specified period of time. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must have a valid job offer from a US employer.
In other words, a US-based employer must sponsor you; only then can you apply for an H1-B visa. Moreover, the visa applicants are selected based on a lottery system as per a cap on the total number of visas to be approved in a given year.
The H1-B visa allows US employers to recruit foreign employees with knowledge and expertise in a given occupation. It has allowed the leading companies in the states to employ the best talents from all around the world to accelerate their growth and success.
Furthermore, vacancies that require an H1-B visa usually require a university degree, its equivalent or higher.
Benefits of H1B Visa
As mentioned before, H1-B is the most popular visa to work in the United States. Below are the main reasons behind its popularity:
Minimum Requirements: Unlike other types of visas that require master’s and even higher qualifications along with certain other requirements, an H1-B visa requires only a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a US employer. This is the main reason why people from all over the world desire it.
Portability: Another perk of the H1-B visa is that it allows the visa holders to transfer their status from one employer to another. Further, it also allows you to work for multiple employers on a part-time basis.
Take Your Family Along: Another benefit of an H1-B visa is that it allows visa holders to bring their partners, children, and other dependents on an H4 visa. They can also stay in the US as long as the principal holder. Besides, they are even allowed to work in the US after obtaining Employment Authorisation Documents.
Anyone Can Apply: A significant benefit of the H1-B visa is that it doesn’t restrict the candidates based on factors such as their area of expertise and country of residence. Anyone from any country can apply.
Way to PR: The H1-B visa is deemed to be a great way to pursue permanent residency (PR). This is one of the biggest reasons why it is highly preferred over other visas, such as J-1 and TN.
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Eligibility for H1B US Work Visa for Indians
Before proceeding further in the H1-B visa application process, make sure to adhere to the following requirements:
Make sure you have at least a bachelor’s degree. Note that a master’s or doctoral degree will work even better as it showcases your expertise and intelligence in a particular field. Moreover, additional training and certifications also help you stand out in the crowd.
Your occupation should be listed under the “specialised” category by the USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration). Not just that, you should be able to prove that you have enough practical and theoretical experience in that field.
Your US-based employer must file a petition in which they should outline the terms and conditions of their employment contract with you. It must be submitted to the Department of Labour US and should clearly mention that the employer is hiring you because there is a lack of specialised American citizens for that particular job.
You must have a valid passport that remains valid throughout the duration of your H1B visa.
Documents Required for H1B Visa
Below is the list of essential documents required for an H1-B visa:
A copy of your valid passport.
Educational documents (degree, certificates, transcripts, etc. )
Letter of employment from an eligible US employer.
Previous employment letters, reference letters, and other relevant documents.
US visa interview appointment letter.
Photograph or primary and secondary visa applicants together.
Passport-size photographs of the applicant (as per the given specifications).
Confirmation page of DS-160 form.
Copy of I-797 form.
Original marriage certificate. (If applicable)
Original birth certificates of dependent children (if any).
Visa fee receipt from the respective bank.
International style resume with supporting documents.
Job description of the US-based sponsoring company.
Labour Certification Approval (LCA)
Step-by-Step H1B Visa Process
Following is the Step-by-Step H1-B visa process:
Step-1: Find a Sponsor
The most important thing about the H1-B visa is that the process is initiated by the employer and not the interested candidate. So, once you have made up your mind that you want to work in the US, the first thing you need to do is find a suitable employer or a sponsoring company.
If you are applying outside the US, you can begin searching for a sponsored job in your related field. Moreover, if you are already in the US on a student or visitor visa, you can start searching for a sponsor or an employer who is willing to offer you a job.
Step-2: Sponsor Files an LCA (Labour Condition Application)
Once you find an employer who is willing to sponsor you, he will file an LCA. It is a mandatory document that needs to be filled by a US-based employer who wants to employ a foreign national on an H1-B visa. This document needs to be filled with the DOL (Department of Labor) of the United States.
Step-3: Sponsor Gets a Prevailing Wage
Next, the sponsor obtains a prevailing wage for the foreign employee. This is to make sure that they are not underpaid as compared to the domestic workers in the same role or field. It should be noted that the actual as well as prevailing wages must be approved by the State Employment Security Agency.
Under any circumstances, the foreign worker should not work below the minimum wage specified for that particular role.
Step-4: Sponsor Submits ETA-9035 Form
Once the prevailing wage is obtained, the employer or sponsor can proceed to submit the LCA by filling out the ETA-9035 form in accordance with the DOL. This application must be filled out digitally via the FLAG (Foreign Labor Application Gateway) system.
Step-5: Sponsor Files the Petition Using I-129
After the LCA process is complete, the employer needs to file the petition for an H1-B visa using the form I-129. This form is also commonly known as the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and must be submitted along with supporting documents such as the letter of employment, resume, academic certificates, and training certificates of the employee, etc.
Note that the form I-129 should clearly state the job description, position offered, start date of employment, roles and responsibilities of the employee, salary description, contact information, and other important details.
Step-6: Fill Out the H1-B Visa Application
Finally, when the I-129 form is approved, you can start the H1-B process at your end. First, you will receive the form I-797, Notice of Action, which will bring you a *Step closer to the final *Step.
If you are already in the US, then the USCIS will automatically change your visa status for H1-B by updating your I-94 record. However, it is advisable to wait before pursuing any employment in the country until the status has been updated.
Moreover, you need to submit the form DS-160 to get an H1-B visa stamp. Note that the appointment for H1-B visa stamping should not be scheduled more than 90 days before the starting date of the employment.
In case you are applying for the H1-B visa from outside the USA, then you have to appear for an H1-B visa interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy and also submit the form DS-160. This needs to be done as soon as your I-129 form is approved. If you clear the interview, you will be granted the H1-B visa, after which you can travel to the US.
H1B Visa Processing Time
The H1B visa processing time depends on numerous factors such as your home country, type of vacancy, your age and qualifications, and so on. Based on these factors, the processing can take anywhere from 6 to 8 months and even a year.
If you want to speed up this process, then you have the option to opt for premium visa processing. However, this facility doesn’t guarantee your approval. With this feature, your I-129 form will be processed within 15 working days.
Validity of H1B US Work Visa for Indians
An H1-B visa comes with a validity of three years. It means you can live and work in the US for a fixed period of three years with an H1-B visa.
But the good news is, you can extend it up to six years by using American Competitiveness.
Once your visa is near its expiry, you have the option to apply for another visa, permanent residency, or plan to move out of the country.
If you continue to live with an expired H1-B visa, you may have to face strict legal action as it is considered a legal violation.
How Much is the H1B Visa Fees India?
The complete cost of an H1-B visa ranges between $1,700 to $6,500. The exact cost will vary on the basis of factors such as employment criteria, attorney fees, optional fees, and so on.
Note that all the visa applicants have to pay a registration fee of $10, but only the ones that are selected through the lottery system are required to pay the rest of the fee.
Below is the complete list of H1-B visa fees in India and who need to pay them:
|Type of Fee||Amount (in $)||Who should pay?|
|Basic Filing Fee||460||Employer|
|Premium Processing Charges (Optional)||2500||Either employee or employer|
|USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee||500||Employer|
|Public Law 114-113 Fee||4000||Employer|
|ACWIA Education and Training Fee||$750 (for less than 25 employees) $1500 (for over 25 employees)||Employer|
What is H1B Visa Stamping?
H1B visa stamping is the last and the final step in the visa process. Basically, you need to get a US stamp on your visa documents. This stamp acts as proof that you are entering the country legally and is checked at the time you land in the country.
After landing, during the security checks, if you are found without a visa stamp, you will be sent back, and strict legal actions might also be taken against you.
Now, the question is, when to schedule the H1-B visa stamping?
As per the rules, you should apply for H1-B visa stamping not more than 90 days before you start working. Hence, you can apply for stamping according to your employment start date, which is mentioned in your offer letter.
Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting an H1B Visa
Let’s face it. Your chances of getting H1-B visa approval largely depend on the lottery draws. If you are really serious about establishing your career in the US, then the below tips are for you. The following tips will help you increase your odds of getting an H1-B visa:
File the Petition ASAP
It is very important to remember that you are not the only one whose goal is to work in the US. It is a dream of tens of thousands of people from every corner of the world. It means the competition is cut-throat. What’s more important is the fact that the H1-B application window opens for a brief amount of time. So, if you want to increase your chances of getting a visa, start as early as possible.
Consider Multiple Employers/Sponsors
Instead of relying only on one employer, consider filing petitions with multiple employers. You can even include part-time employers for this purpose. In this way, you will have multiple chances even if any one application gets rejected by the USCIS.
Look for an H1-B Cap-Exempt Opportunity
The cap-exempt jobs are the ones that do not select candidates on the basis of a lottery system. It means you have a better chance of getting a visa. These types of jobs include higher education institutions, non-profit organisations, government organisations, research centres, etc. If possible, consider securing a job in such fields.
Hire an Attorney
The H1-B visa process is subject to many legalities and frequent updates. It demands a lot of time and dedication as well. So, if you lack these requirements, it is recommended to work with an expert attorney. Having a professional on your side will make sure everything goes smoothly and in the right direction.
Avoid Paying Your Own Fee
The H1-B visa process is initiated by a US employer who is willing to hire you. It is their responsibility to pay the fee. Note that the USCIS can reject your application if they find out that the fee is paid by the employee and not the sponsor. You can only pay the premium processing charges that can help you speed up the process.
As mentioned above, the rules and regulations for an H1-B US work visa for Indians keep changing every year. It means you can’t rely on the information you received two years back. Hence, it is very important to stay updated.
US Embassy and Consulates
Following are the addresses and contact details of the US embassy and consulates for your reference:
|Embassy & Consulates||Address and Phone Number|
|U.S. Embassy New Delhi||Add: Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi (110021) Phone: 011-91-11-2419-8000|
|U.S. Consulate General Mumbai||Add: C-49, G-Block, Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai (400051) Phone: +91-22-2672-4000|
|U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad||Add: Survey No. 115/1, Financial District, Nanakramguda, Hyderabad, Telangana (500032) Phone: +91-040-6932-8000|
|U.S. Consulate General Chennai||Add: Gemini Circle, Chennai (600006) Phone: +91-44-2857-4000|
|U.S. Consulate General Kolkata||Add: 5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata (700071) Phone: +91-33-6827-2400|
H1B Visa Alternatives
Following are some popular alternatives to the H1-B visa:
TN Visa: For Mexicans and Canadians
E3 Visa: For Australians.
L1 Visa: For people who have worked overseas for a period of 12 months in the last three years.
O1 Visa: For people with extraordinary abilities in a range of fields.
E1 & E2 Visas: For treaty investors and traders.
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The H1-B visa is a nonimmigrant temporary work visa designed for foreign nationals who want to work and live in the US for a fixed period of time. It comes with a validity of three years and can be extended up to six years. The best part is it allows you to bring your family to live with you in the US throughout the validity of your H1-B status.
You can even use it to get a PR and settle permanently in the United States of America.
We have discussed everything you need to get started with the H1-B visa process. Now, your next step is to find a sponsor for your relevant job and take the first step toward your dream of living abroad!
Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
What if my H1B visa got rejected?
What if my H1B visa got rejected?
If you are not selected in the H1B visa lottery, then the USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services) will return your application and fees. You can apply again next year. However, your chances of selection will remain the same as everyone in the pool. Alternatively, there are many other types of visas you can consider applying for.
I am self-employed. Am I eligible for an H1B visa?
No, only the candidates who are sponsored by an eligible US employer can apply for an H1B visa.
Can I bring my family on an H1-B visa?
Yes, your spouse, children, and other dependents can apply for a H-4 visa to accompany you in the United States. With this visa, they can live and even work in the States after acquiring employment authorisation from the US government.
What if I lose my job, for which I was granted an H1-B visa?
If you have lost the job for which you have received the H1-B status, you will be granted a 60-day grace period. This period starts from the day you officially leave your sponsor (the employer who sponsored you. During this time, you can find a new employer, apply for a different visa, or plan for your smooth exit from the country.
Where should I submit my H1-B visa application?
You can submit your H1-B visa application to the USCIS office of the city you are planning to work in.
The information present on this site is compiled from multiple government and non-government resources and is subject to frequent updates. Hence, it is advisable to refer to the official US government websites and verify the information before proceeding further.