The USCIS gets thousands of applications every year for H-1B visas. An H1-B visa is a visa reserved for people who possess advanced skills. In this article, we are going to give you an overview of the H-1B application process and an overview of H-1B status. These applications are started by employers and because of the complex process, it is advisable to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help mitigate the process.

H-1B Status

H-1B visas are held by people with advanced skills and education. Most of all H-1B visa holders have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The H-1B visa is started by the employer of the person with the visa. The employer MUST be in a position where an American applicant is not suited with the skills needed to perform the functions of the job and needs to hire a non-U.S. citizen out of necessity to fill the role. Some common occupations for the H-1B visas are information technology, accountants, professors, finance professionals and doctors. The employer seeking to hire a non-citizen must have their own Federal tax ID number in order to initiate the application process.

Visa Caps On Applications

The USCIS will typically approve around 65,000 H-1B applications every year. Another 22,000 are dedicated to applicants with Advanced Degree. The United States also has special reservations for select countries. For example, Chile and Singapore nationals have 6,800 spots reserved for them.

Traditionally, applications would be accepted starting April 1st and then the approvals get granted between June 1st and September 30th with a start date of employment of October 1.

Application Process Overview

The H-1B process is an extremely long and complicated process. There are a dozen steps that need to be taken and hiring an experienced immigration attorney will make your life a whole lot easier. The first step in the process is to submit an LCA, or Labor Condition Application. This application verifies that the employer is qualified to hire foreign workers. The employer would need to be registered and accepted into the FLAG DOL system before an LCA can be submitted.   The next step is for the employer to register and create an account at USCIS system to be able to register and participate in a visa number selection process at the beginning of March.  This step is very important because if that submission is not picked, the process for the current H-1B season is over for that employee with that employer.

This process has been in place for a few years now and all CAP H-1B applicants must go through this system. Everyone selected by April 1, would have 60 days to file their petitions.  If any of the originally selected applications do not apply, another drawing would be conducted in June/July and more applicants would be selected.  Before September 30th, a third drawing is possible.  After being selected, the employer has to file a Form I-129 and pay the filing fee, training fee, fraud prevention fee and the ”Public Law 114-113” fee. The employer will also have to file Form G-28 if they are being represented by an immigration lawyer.

There are documents that are required such as a copy of the worker’s passport, copies of recent company’s IRS tax returns, pictures of the company’s building, a copy of the employment contract and much much more!

After the employer finishes its petition to USCIS, the petition can be submitted with Premium Processing or regular processing.  Premium Processing allows to have a petition reviewed within 15 days.  That will assure employee can start working on October 1 of the applicable year.  If application is filed regular processing, it may take much longer for a decision to be reached.  The application will either be approved, an RFE (request for information) sent, or denied. If the petition is approved, the employer will now have the authority to officially sponsor the employee for the next three years. After that, the employee can move forward with their own application process. Dependng on where the employee is and if they can change status in the US or must attend a consulate interview, the process is different.  For most employees, they must attend a consulate interview.

The first step is to file a Form DS-160, pay the $190 application fee, schedule and attend an interview and submit the required documentation. The documentation that is needed for an H-1B visa is quite substantial. Depending on the individual’s situation, the applicant is required to submit pay stubs, passport, bank statements, resume, copy of Form I-797 and the list goes on. This is not even half of it. If any of this documentation is filled out incorrectly, you run the risk of getting denied. That is why hiring an attorney to file for your H-1B visa is crucial. Both the employer and employee can significantly benefit from hiring a professional immigration attorney for this issue.

To learn more, call MC Law Group at (702) 238-1093.