USA and the UK
What is a H1B Visa?
The H1b Visa, also referred to as the H-1b Visa, is one of the most popular US work visas. It allows US-based companies to hire foreign workers in a range of specialty occupation fields such as IT, accounting, science and engineering.
A H1B Visa is a nonimmigrant worker visa and allows Indian nationals to gain temporary entry to the US. It has an initial time limit of three years but this can be extended to a maximum of six years. The H1B Visa also has the benefit of enabling holders to be eligible for a Green Card and gain permeant residence in the US.
Competition for the H1B Visa is extremely competitive and there is a H1B Visa cap in place, with only 85,000 issued per fiscal year. In addition, 20,000 of these are reserved by USCIS for those workers who are classed as advanced degree holders.
Meeting the Specialty Occupation Requirement
If you are looking to travel from India to work in the US then you must ensure that the job offer you have in place meets the criteria set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The key requirement is that the role you will undertake in the US is a specialty occupation is an occupation that requires specialised knowledge. It must also meet the following criteria:
- The role has a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s degree or higher degree
- The degree requirement is common in the industry in comparison to positions at similar organizations or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or equivalent qualification for the position
- The nature of the specific duties associated with the role are so specialized or complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher or master’s degree
In addition, you must ensure that you can provide evidence of the following in order to qualify for a H1B Visa:
- Acceptance into a job that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.
- Possess a Bachelor’s, Master’s degree or higher degree (or equivalent) in the specific speciality or have an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that allows you to fully practice the speciality occupation.
- Have recognized work experience in the speciality through progressively responsible positions
- Have a Certified Labor Condition Application
Applying for the H1B Visa from India
As H1B Visas are subject to an annual visa cap then the first step to applying from India involves the H1B Electronic Registration Process.
Before you can apply for the H1B Visa, your must ensure that your petitioning sponsor or employer has signed up to the process so once the H1B Electronic Registration process is open they are ready to apply on your behalf.
The H1B Electronic Registration process opens for a minimum period of 14 days each fiscal year to enable prospective employers of H1B Visa holders to submit some basic information about themselves and any foreign worker that they intend to petition for. This will also need to pay a $10 fee per worker at this point.
If you are selected from the electronic registration process, then the next step is to start the application for a H1B Visa. It is essential that your US-based employer petitions for you to come to the US.
Your sponsoring or new employer must first apply for Labor Certification by filing a Form ETA-9035/9035E, the Labor Condition Application form (LCA) with the Department of Labor. They will then need to submit the DOL-certificated LCA at the same time as filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS.
Once the Form I-129 has been approved you are then apply for a H1B Visa stamp at a US Embassy or Consulate in the India. To do this you will need to complete Form DS-160, which is the online application for a nonimmigrant visa. The US embassy is located in New Delhi, while there are also consulate offices in Chennai, Secunderabad, West Bengal and Mumbai.
You will need to bring confirmation of DS-160 completion and other supporting documents with you to your H1B Visa application appointment. Following your appointment, a consular officer will decide whether to approve your application for a H1B Visa.
Application Fees for an H1B Visa?
The Citizenship and Immigration Services insist that employers must all the fees associated with filing for an H1B Visa petition. The only costs employees will only need to pay for the application fee when they undergo consular processing at a US embassy or consulate in India . Other costs such as premium processing fees and immigration attorney fees can be paid for by either the employer or employee.
H1B visa Fees that are paid for by the employer:
- Registration Fee: $10
- Public Law 114-113 Fee: $4,000
- Basic Filing Fee: $460
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) Education and Training Fee: $750 or $1,500
- Anti-Fraud Fee: $500
H1b Visa fees that are paid for by the employee:
- Consular Processing (Form DS-160): $190
- Premium Processing Fee (Optional):$2,500 (Can also be paid for by the Employer).
- Immigration Attorney Fee (Optional): Cost will vary (Can also be paid for by the Employer)
Time taken to process a H1B Visa when applying from India
The time an H1B Visa takes to process varies depending on the country from which you’re applying, as the processing time is set by your local US Embassy. You are advised to contact the US embassy in India directly to get an more accurate timescale of how long it will take to process your H1B Visa application.
In most cases, the H1B applications can take up to 12 months to be approved and you must not travel to the US or take up your intended employment before the H1B Visa is processed.
Last modified on April 28th, 2023 at 3:40 am
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