This content contains links to companies that may compensate us if you hire them via our links or phone numbers.
What Is An H1B Visa?
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa allowing U.S. employers to hire foreign workers with specialized skills to work in the U.S. for a specific time period. Usually, the positions have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent educational qualifications. Occupations qualifying for the H-1B visa generally involve career fields like finance, engineering, technology, and architecture.
>> Meet with Tina! Book a consultation on her calendar. <<
Who Is Eligible for An H1B Visa?
Eligibility requirements for an H1B visa include the following:
- A legitimate job offer from a U.S. employer for a position requiring special skills or knowledge
- Proof of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in that same field
- The employer must prove that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for the role you will fill
What Is The H1B Visa Cap?
Entering the U.S. under the H-1B classification and beginning work is a process. You may be required under the law to register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and then be selected to apply for an H1B visa.
This type of visa is in high demand, and unfortunately, the federal government only grants so many each year. For example, the 2023 cap is 65,000 visas per fiscal year. But if you have a master’s degree from a U.S. institution, an additional 20,000 visas are available for those with your level of education or higher.
In addition, the visa cap won’t apply to you if your sponsoring employer is any of the following:
- A government research organization
- A higher education institution
- A nonprofit organization affiliated with a higher education institution
If your occupation is subject to the cap, you must register with USCIS electronically and enter a lottery for selection to apply. Taking this step requires you to create an online account with USCIS. If you have an existing myUSCIS online account, you must create a separate account for the registration process.
At that time, you will need to pay a registration fee, complete basic information about your sponsoring company, and some details about yourself. You also have the option of hiring an immigration attorney or representative who can create an account and register on your behalf.
It’s imperative to note that the registration period only lasts for 14 days each year. If you don’t register and your occupation isn’t exempt from the cap, you won’t be eligible to apply for the H-1B visa.
Determining Your Status
After your registration is complete, you can see your status in your USCIS account. If a lawyer or a personal representative filed on your behalf, they can view your status in their account.
Your status will show as one of the following:
- Submitted: You have submitted a valid registration.
- Selected: You can apply for an H-1B visa.
- Not Selected: USCIS didn’t choose you to apply for an H-1B visa this time.
- Denied: Registering for the chance to apply for an H-1B visa with the same employer several times, USCIS will deem all your registrations invalid.
- Invalidated-Failed Payment: You registered, but your payment couldn’t be processed.
Once the registration period ends, USCIS will tell you if you were selected. Unless you are eligible for an exemption, USCIS must choose you if you want to apply for an H1B visa. If they don’t pick you, they will inform you or your representative when the H-1B reaches its cap for that year.
What Does the H-1B Visa Cost?
It costs $10 to register for the H1B visa lottery. If USCIS chooses the applicant for a visa, their employer must pay $460 to file Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). Other than those fees, the costs can vary for an H1B visa, depending on the following:
- The size of the company
- If an expedited application is necessary
- If the visa applicant is changing employers
- Attorney fees
USCIS to Increase Visa Fees
Potential applicants and employers need to note that beginning as early as the summer of 2023, the government visa application filing fees could rise substantially. Currently, the anticipated cost to file Form I-129 will rise by over 200 percent from $460 to $1,385. The pre-registration fee might also grow by 2050%, from $10 to $215.
In January 2023, USCIS unveiled plans to increase filing costs for most visa application types. Although the proposed fees are not yet effective, AALM and your attorney are monitoring all government updates closely.
Getting Your H1B Visa
After you are selected to apply for an H1B visa, your future employer begins the process by filing a petition on your behalf.
Your employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL) for Certification. The LCA confirms that your employer will compensate you an identical wage as other similarly qualified employees in the same geographic area and that your working conditions won’t impact other employees.
Once the DOL certifies the LCA, it’s your employer’s job to fill out Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and file both the LCA and the I-129 with USCIS. At this time, they will also need to pay any necessary fees and submit any required additional documentation. Other required documents may include the following:
- Evidence of your education
- Any training certificates or professional membership documents, if relevant
- Your resume
- A confirmation letter of employment
- A letter of support
Options after I-129 Approval
Suppose the government approves your Form I-129. In that case, there are two options available to you, depending on whether you are in the U.S. already or not:
If you are already legally present in the U.S. on a different visa category, the law requires you to wait until your H1B visa status becomes active to start working.
If you are currently outside the U.S., then you must apply for consular processing. This involves completing Form DS-160, which typically takes about 90 minutes to fill in. At this time, you will also need to submit the application fee and schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate near you.
Documents to Bring to Your Interview
When going to your interview, you will need to bring several supporting documents, such as:
- Your passport— valid for at least six months after your planned date of entry to the U.S.
- A copy of Form DS-160.confirmation page
- A copy of your approved I-129 petition
- Your I-797 approval
- Receipts proving that you paid your required application fees
- A U.S. State Department-approved passport-sized photo of you
What to Expect for Your Interview
During your interview, you should expect that the interviewer will ask you questions about the following:
- The job you are to perform
- Your career experience
- The employer you will be working for
- Your travel history
- Your supporting documents
While it’s common to be nervous for such an interview, an immigration attorney can help you prepare for it so that you feel confident and ready.
Need Help with An H1B Visa? Call TZG Law Today
TZG Law is here to provide professional guidance and support in navigating the complexities of immigration law. With our team of experienced immigration attorneys, we specialize in various areas of immigration, including H1B employment visas, naturalization, deportation defense, and more. Whatever your immigration needs may be, we have the knowledge and skills to assist you.
Take action today! Contact TZG Law at 385-396-4599 or click here to schedule your initial consultation with Tina. Let us be your trusted partner on your immigration journey.