The U.S. H1B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that permits companies in the United States to hire graduate level employees in specialty occupations that require technical or theoretical expertise. This may include work in specialized fields like finance, IT, science, engineering, medicine, architecture, mathematics, or accounting. Applying for a non-immigrant visa is often faster than applying for a green card. However, it can be challenging to acquire an H1B visa due to the visa cap.
Applying for an H1B Visa
H1B visas can only be applied through an employer, meaning you cannot apply for a H1B visa from India by yourself. The H1B visa is tied to a particular employer and if you change your employer, it could affect your visa status. In addition, family members in the U.S. cannot sponsor an H1B visa.
To apply for an H1B visa from India, you must follow several important steps:
1. Applicant Finds an H1B Sponsor
The H1B visa is a work visa meaning the applicant must be approved by a U.S. employer to apply. Before applying for the H1B visa, you must make sure that you will have employment with a U.S. company when you enter the United States. Make it clear from the start of the job application that you will need to be sponsored to enter the U.S.
2. Employer Submits Labor Conditions Approval (LCA)
After being hired by a U.S. company, your employer will start the application by submitting a Labor Conditions Approval to the Department of Labor. This can be done over the internet using the FLAG System. An LCA will inform the DOL about various elements of the job, such as the location, working conditions, and pay. Due to the complexity of this document, you will need to work with your employer to ensure that all information is accurate and meets the requirements of the DOL.
3. Employer Submits Form I-129
If the LCA is approved, the employer will then need to file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. This step of the process requires an evaluation of the worker’s education and experience. The employer will also need to submit certain documents, such as training certificates, the applicant’s resume, letter of support, and employment agreement. There are also fees involved. The processing time can take 3 to 4 months.
4. Applicant Complete Application at U.S. Embassy
If the visa petition is approved, the applicant can complete the process at their home country’s U.S. embassy office or consulate. This process usually only takes a few days but can vary based on location.
The H1B Visa Lottery
The USCIS uses a computer-generated random selection process for choosing H1B visa applicants. This is known as the H1B lottery. The H1B visa lottery was put in place in response to the high number of H1B visa applications that are received annually.
When the amount of visa applications exceeds the annual cap, the USCIS randomly selects the number of petitions allotted. If you are not chosen during the H1B lottery, the USCIS then returns your petition and filing fee and you must wait until the following year to submit your application and try again.
Consult with an Immigration Attorney
Applying for a H1B visa from India can be a long and tedious process. Any errors made on the application or petition can result in extended delays and possibly lost employment in the U.S.
An experienced immigration attorney can assist with the preparation of all forms and documents necessary for obtaining an H1B visa. An attorney can also guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Reach out to the qualified immigration attorneys at JacksonWhite Law today for a consultation.
Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 or fill out our contact form below.