• H1B Visa

    What is H1B Visa?

    H1-B Visa is a nonimmigrant Visa which is designed to allow U.S. employers to employ foreign nationals in specialty occupations in the United States of America for a specified period. People from outside U.S. who are looking for employment need to have a H1-B Visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    H1B Visa Eligibility Criteria

    To obtain the H1-B Visa, you must:

    • Have 12 years of work experience. It can also be a mix of further education and work experience.
    • Applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
    • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will determine if your employment constitutes a specialty occupation and if you are qualified to perform the services.
    • Employer should file a labor condition with the Department of Labor that concerns the terms and conditions of its contract of employment with you.
    • You must demonstrate that you have the ability to work in specialty occupation.
    • You are willing to come to U.S. to earn and are not coming with the intention to pursue a hobby or to give free advice or any humanitarian service.

    Applying for H1-B Visa

    H1B_Visa
    US H1B Visa

    The individual is not allowed to apply for the H1-B visa, it requires sponsoring from U.S. employer. The H1-B filing period starts from 1st April and the filling period will continue till the quota is met. The H1-B sponsors and employers change every year. H1-B visas are dual intent visas as you can get permanent residency as well.

    H1-B visas can be filled and approved in 15 days using the premium processing but an extra fee of $1,225 is to be paid. The H1B visa can also be transferred to the new H1-B sponsor company at any time.

    Employer petitions for the H1B visa in the following ways:

    • Form ETA-9035:

    Labor Condition Attestation through the ICERT website. The employer assures the DOL that they will provide the employee with fair salary and equal benefits similar to that which is being provided to the U.S. citizen.

    • Form I-129:

    The petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is filed with H Supplement and submitted with supporting documents that include proved LCA and is to be filed with USCIS Regional Service Centre that has jurisdiction over the city of planned employment. When approved, the employer gets notice or approval Form I-797 and a copy is forwarded to the American Consulate.

    Documents Required While Applying For H1B Visa

    Documents required for h1b visa who are outside the U.S. are as follows:

    • Passport
    • Labor Certificate Approval
    • Appointment Letter offered by your employer
    • Tax returns paper of the company
    • Copy of the letter sent to the Department of Justice
    • Copy of the letter sent to the Consular General of the Indian Consulate
    • Copy of the official valuation of your degrees
    • PG certificate
    • Appointment and Relieving Certificates from the previous companies that you were employed at.
    • Dates of prior stay in U.S. in H1-B status
    • Job description and duty with the sponsoring U.S. Company to be described in short.
    • Copy of current U.S. License or temporary license
    • Copy of resume with supporting certificates
    • Two demand drafts, $45 for processing fee and $100 for issuance fee
    • 2 to 3 passport sized colored photographs
    • If H-4 visa is being applied for dependent members, then you must submit copies of children’s birth certificates and copy of marriage certificate.

    If you are applying for a H1-B status when you are already in the U.S., the following documents are to be submitted:

    • Copy of biographic and visa pages of current passport
    • Current U.S. address
    • Foreign address
    • Day and evening phone numbers
    • E-mail address
    • Form I-94 card copy
    • Prior H1-B approval notices copy
    • Dates of prior stay in U.S. under H1-B status
    • Current resume with employment history
    • Copy of university or college degree
    • Copy of credentials evaluation
    • Title you hold with the sponsoring U.S. Company
    • Detailed description of your job and duties
    • Copy of current license, if any that is required for your occupation
    • Social security number
    • Recent W2 copy
    • Recent pay slip copy

    Photo Requirements for H1B Visa

    If you wish to apply for the H1B Visa then you need to provide a digital photo. Certain criteria must be met by your photographs. If you get the photo clicked at a studio, then mention that you need it for the US visas.

    Requirements:

    • Acquisition – The image file that you produce can be taken using a digital camera or by digitizing paper photo with your scanner.
    • Dimensions – The pixel dimension of the image should be a square. The height and the width of the photo must be the same. The minimum dimensions must be 600 x 600 pixels for the photo to be acceptable.
    • Color – The photo must be in color (SRGB) code. This is the general output for most cameras that are digital.
    • Format of the file – The format of the file must be in JPEG.
    • Size of the file – The size of the photo file must be 240 kb or less.
    • Compression – The image might need compression for giving it the required size.

    Scanning Requirements:

    1. Size for printing – If the image is scanned from a paper photograph, the size of the photo must be at least 2 inches x 2 inches square.
    2. Resolution – The sampling frequency of the printed photos must be 300 pixels / inch.

    Composition Requirements:

    • The image that you produce must have the full face, shoulders and neck in frontal view. The expression on your face must be non-smiling and neutral. The eyes must be opened and you must look directly at the camera.
    • Head must never be tilted towards any side. It should always be at the center of the frame.
    • The background of the photo must be light in color. There should not be any distracting shadows in the picture.
    • The face should stay in focus. The photo must not be sharpened.
    • The photo must not be overexposed or underexposed.

    How to Book an Appointment for H1B Visa

    • The visa interview is for all the people who wish to get their h1b visa to the United States of America.
    • The interview of Visa can be taken by you online at the US Visa appointment system.
    • If you wait till the last moment for booking an interview then you might not get the preferred time and date.
    • Understand which consulate you have to apply to before you set up an appointment.
    • Check out the list provided for the US Consulates present in India.
    • Get an appointment on the earliest interview date.
    • Check the wait period for visa at all US consulate.

    Validity of H1B Visa

    The H1B nonimmigrant is permitted to stay in the U.S. for a period of 3 years and the period can be extended but it cannot go beyond 6 years. The period of stay can be extended under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act. There is also a limited extension for those who have permanent residence applications pending. But, if your H1-B visa is not extended before the end of the 6th year, you are required to remain outside the country for 1 year.

    Foreign nationals working in the Defense Department projects can remain in the H1- B status for 10 years.

    With the H1B visa, you can bring your dependents. Your wife and unmarried children below the ages of 21 are entitled to the H4 visa and can stay as long as your H1-B visa is valid. They cannot accept employment but are allowed to attend school in the U.S. Servants are also allowed under the B1 visa.

    Benefits of H1B Visa

    The benefits of the H1-B Visa are as follows:

    • There is no limit to the number of H1-B Visas that an individual can have in his or her lifetime.
    • H1-B holders can seek Green Card or Lawful Permanent Residency for themselves and their family.
    • If the employer is terminating a H1B holder before the end of the authorized employment period, the employer must pay a reasonable cost of transportation for the H1-B holder to go back to his or her home country.
    • If the H1-B holder is changing jobs, he or she must reapply for a new visa. It however doesn’t mean you get another 6 years permit. But those who are converting the H4 visa to H1-B status will get 6 years permit from the date the status changed to H1B status.

    H1B Visa Limitations

    The limitations of the H1-B Visa are as follows:

    • The duration of the stay is temporary. The H1-B holder can however seek for Lawful Permanent Residency, but if the petition is denied then the H1-B holder must go back to his or her home country at the end of the 6 year authorized employment period.
    • An annual limit set to the number of H1-B Visas being issued. The H1-B cap is set at 65,000 for a fiscal year. But the quota is only for new H1-B applications and not to those seeking extension and change of employer.

    How to Transfer H1b Visa to another Employer?

    You can apply for transfer of H1-B to another company. But you will need valid employment in the U.S. You must also have recent pay stubs and last 2 year’s W2 forms.

    If you do not have recent pay slips, then the reason for not having the pay slips will have to be explained to USCIS. It could be due to unpaid vacation long sick leave. The approval letter for the same must be provided. If you lose the job, you lose the status of H1-B even if you have a valid H1-B Visa or a valid I-94 card.

    How to Check H1B Visa Status without Receipt Number?

    You must get paid from the company from the day one of your employment in U.S. as per the law. You will not be allowed to live in the country without salary unless you have taken an unpaid leave or sick leave. Your status will remain valid and legal but you will have to find another employment at the earliest. If you are not getting a job, then it is advisable for you to leave the country.

    In the event the employer is refusing to pay your salary, you can place a complaint with the nearest USCIS office or with the Department of Labor.

    FAQs for H1B Visa

    1. When should I apply for H1B Visa?

    2. You can apply for H1B Visa after the petition for the same has been approved by the USCIS. Generally USCIS starts accepting H1B Visa petitions for next year from the 1st of April of the current year. It means that for the year 2017, the USCIS has started accepting H1B Visa applications from April, 2016. The H1B Sponsoring Company will file the Visa petition for you.

    3. How can I apply for H1B Visa from India?

    4. Your company has to file a H1B Visa petition for you with the US Department of Homeland Security. Once the petition is approved, you can apply for the required Visa at the US Consulate or Embassy located in India.

    5. What is the fee for H1B Visa?

    6. Mentioned below is a breakdown of the fee that has to be paid for H1B visa:

      Type Amount
      USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee $500
      Base Filing Fee $325
      ACWIA Education and Training Fee $750 (To be paid by employers who have below 25 employees.) $1500 (To be paid by employers who have more than 25 employees.)
      Premium Processing (It is optional) $1,225
      Public Law 111-320 Fee $4,000

    *Disclaimer

    News About H1B Visa

    • Lawmakers urge Trump administration to continue granting work permit to spouses of H-1B visa holders

      Led by influential Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a group of 130 US lawmakers has urged the Trump administration to continue granting work permit to the spouses of H-1B visa holders. It is worth mentioning that the current administration is planning to bring an end to the rule brought about by the Obama administration in 2015 that allowed the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the country. The group of lawmakers submitted a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen with just a few weeks remaining for a formal move to be taken by the administration on the matter. The lawmakers which comprise of both Republican and Democrats argued that providing work permits to the spouses helps US employers recruit and retain highly-qualified employees. It needs to be mentioned that as per a recent report, as many as 93% of the total H-4 visa holders which allows them to work in the US are issued to Indian spouses.

      21 May 2018

    • Job worries for spouses of H-1B visa holders to magnify in June

      With the Trump administration reiterating its stance regarding H-4 EAD program, job worries for the spouses of those availing H-1B visa is set to magnify in June. The administration in the recent spring regulatory agenda has mentioned that the new draft regulation is expected to replace the existing policy in June. The new draft regulation will be notified in a federal register and would provide the public a window of 30 to 60 days to put in their comments regarding the draft. It needs to be mentioned that the decision of the Trump administration is expected to affect over a lakh Indian spouses.

      As per the statistics released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), since the introduction of the policy by the Obama administration as many as 94% of the total EADs issued were to Indian spouses. The rule was introduced to clear the massive green card backlog for H-1B visa holders especially from India and China.

      16 May 2018

    • In another Trump administration move, spouses of H-1B visa holders are now being denied jobs

      The Trump government wants to discard the H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) scheme which allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to get a job in the United States. US senator Charles E Grassely had been approached a few days earlier by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to stop the EAD scheme which would prevent H-4 visa holders from obtaining employment under it. As per the statistics provided by the US government, over 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to highly skilled professionals every year out of which a massive 70% are Indian nationals. Since 2015, 18 Lakh people have migrated to the US on H-1B visa and 1 Lakh have obtained employment under the H4- EAD scheme.

      The National Association of Software Services and Companies (Nasscom) has been protesting the changes in the visa laws. They are gravely concerned about retaining highly skilled workers most of which are Indians. As per Nasscom, the spouses of H-1B visa holders are equally adept at their jobs and the move to stop providing employment under the H-4 EAD scheme would be a negative decision. Also going ahead with this decision would mean separation of the families for a long time. Due to this move by the Trump administration, many Indians are now looking for other countries as better options than the US to work in.

      4 May 2018

    • Fall in H1B visa applications this year

      As the rules are getting more and more tougher as far as the H1B visa issue is concerned, the number of applications for this type of visa to the US has also gone down.

      What this means that the rules and regulations as far as H1B is concerned have only become more stringent. In fact, there might also be an increase in the number of visa rejections for Indian outsourcing companies from now onwards.

      It is also very likely that the US government may have set aside a certain number of visas for international students who will graduate in the country and may start looking for jobs. In a way, this move is very very good for Indian students who have already enrolled in courses or may be planning to in the near future. On the other hand, there will be no hindrances as far as skilled immigration is concerned as the green card process is likely to be expedited for ‘skilled workers’ in the country. While, the aim is to bring down a ‘family-based immigration’ system. On the other hand, when young graduates in the country are assured of good jobs and permanent residency, there will be more entrepreneurial ventures that will spring up in the coming future.

      18 April 2018

    • U.S. Says That The H-1B Visa Cap Has Reached The 65,000 Target For FY 2019

      The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has stated that they have reached the mandated H-1B work visa cap of 65,000 for the fiscal year 2019. The authorities would now conduct the lottery scheme in order to decide it’s their successful Indian applicants.

      The H-1B visa is one of the most popular non-immigrant visas, which permits the US-based companies to hire foreign workers and let them work in specialty professions that require technical or theoretical expertise.

      The U.S. tech companies usually hire thousands and thousands of employees every year, while depending mainly on China and India. However, ever since the process of H-1B has been tightened by the Trump’s administration, the numbers have decreased largely.

      9 April 2018

    • The Hardest Ever H-1B Visa Processing Starts Now

      As announced, the H-1B visa processing has started on April 02, 2018 and is reported to be one of the most hunted U.S. work visas amongst experienced Indian professionals despite Trump’s unprecedented scrutiny.

      Though the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) has opened the doors for H-1B visa application filing, only a few will be successful, meaning that they will be able to enter and work in America from October 01, 2018. However, the visa’s tenure will not exceed a maximum of 3 years.

      According to the recent USCIS policy memorandum, if multiple petitions are filed by the “related entities” for the same seeker of visa, there has to be a legal business need. Otherwise, the petitions will be immediately rejected. In short, a company can’t file multiple H-1B petitions for the same applicant. Also, when a business files it, any other associated company cannot do the same unless there are two separate job prospects.

      4 April 2018

    • Trump’s Strict Immigration Rules Leave Indians In A Dilemma

      Ever since the Trump’s administration has tightened the immigration rules, the process to acquire a U.S. Green Card is no longer easy for Indian citizens. In fact, it has now turned into a big dream and the procedures are not going to be that effortless as they were a decade ago.

      As far as the IT Indians are considered, most have high hopes in settling in the United States but with tightened regulations, they have to wait patiently. According to the statistics for the past 30 years, the U.S. was liberal with its immigration policies. In the year 2008, it granted about 65,971 citizenships to the foreign workers. However, in 2014, the count dropped down to 37,854 but improved in 2017 at 49,601 citizenships.

      This year is truly a wakeup call for all the multi-national companies and after the tightened visa rules, many businesses are adopting an extremely careful approach so that their petitions do not get rejected. On the other hand, the U.S. companies no longer require as much as Indian techies as they did once.

      2 April 2018

    • Filing Season For H-1B Visa Opens On April 2 With Higher Rejection Risks

      The filing season for H-1B visa this year is certain to bring more paperwork and scrutiny. In fact, this is something that has never happened in the past 27 years. Therefore, the possibilities or risks of having an application rejected is extremely high. Also, applications that mention clauses like “subject to approval” or “ASAP” are at bigger risks.

      The USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has reported that the filing for H-1B visa for the financial year 2019 will open on April 02, 2018. It has allotted 65,000 fresh H-1B visas for occupations in the fields of information technology, science, and engineering. However, these visas will be granted as “regular cap.” In addition, 20,000 visas are allocated as “masters’ cap” for employees with high-end or professional degrees from various universities in America.

      Donald Trump, the U.S president has been working for a long time to tighten the H-1B visa rules, with an idea to encourage “Buy America, Hire American” approach. Keeping this in mind, the visa applications not only be strictly verified but will also be confirmed after discussing with the third-party worksite.

      19 March 2018

    • US Immigration expert calls new H-1B rules as ‘anti-India’

      Cyrus Mehta, a US-based immigration expert states that the new rules brought about in the H-1B visa program as ‘anti-India’. He states that the new policy introduced by the US immigration authority will put extra responsibilities on the IT companies and also their clients, which the latter might not be willing to take. Mehta claimed that the new changes brought about in the visa program would be some kind of bias against the workers from India in a blog post. He stated in the blog post that Indian H-1B workers were unfairly disparaged even in the media for displacing American workers, as seen during the Disney episode. He goes on to add that as per the new rules which needs the IT company to shows that the visa beneficiary has actual work assignment can be tough. This is because, it can be shown only by the end client and involves a lot of administrative work. Mehta, who is the Managing Attorney and founder of New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta and Partners believes the new rules brought about in the H-1B visa program reflects the new siege mentality under the Trump administration.

      12 March 2018

    • TV Mohandas Pai says that strict rules on H-1B visa will not impact Indian IT Firms

      According to TV Mohandas Pai, the recent step taken by the U.S. to strict the H-1B visas is not likely to have a substantial impact on the IT industries in India. However, it could damage the ones that misuse the entire system.

      As per the revised policies, a company or an organization has to provide additional proofs and documents to have its employee approved to work at a third-party workplace. This new rule was announced by the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) recently.

      He said further that the rules were already tightened and therefore, no noteworthy impact has been anticipated.

      6 March 2018

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