The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows a U.S. employer to hire people from other countries to work in their companies on a temporary basis for a duration of three years and can be extended to six years. This visa requires a job from a U.S.-based employer and a bachelor's or equivalent degree in any specialization such as IT, engineering, architecture, finance, etc.
In order to be eligible for H-1B visa, one must be completed his or her bachelor’s degree in specialization and hold a job offer from a U.S.-based employer. In order to apply for the H-1B visa, the employer must prove that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for that role.
As there is a massive demand for H-1B visas, the U.S. government has limited issuing of these visas by a cap number each year. At present, this cap number is 65,000 for this financial year, and 20,000 extra are reserved for people who have a master’s degree in the U.S. The visa cap does not apply if the employer sponsoring you is an institution of higher education or a non-profit organization connected to an institution of higher education or a government research organization. Other than that, if your occupation is subjected to the cap, then you must first register with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to enter the lottery to be selected. For this, one needs to create an online account with USCIS, and if you already have an account with it, you need to create another separate account for doing the registration process. After that, you need to pay a registration fee and start filling in a few details about yourself and basic information about the company that is sponsoring you. An immigration attorney can also create an account and register to apply on your behalf. The registration process runs only for 14 days a year. If your occupation is subject to the cap and you don’t register in those 14 days, you won’t be able to apply for the H-1B visa that year. Once you register, you will be able to see your application status in your account on the USCIS website and if an attorney has applied on your behalf, then she or he can check the status of your registration process.
The status of your account will show like submitted or selected or denied or not selected or invalid etc. Submitted means your registration is successful and it is valid. Selected means you are able to apply for the visa. Not selected means you are not allowed to apply for a visa this year. The USCIS will deny your application if you apply multiple times with the same employer. The status will show invalidated- failed payment when your registration is successful but the payment didn’t go through.
Once you are selected to apply for the H-1B visa, your employer should start the process by filing a petition on your behalf. Your employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for Certification to the Department of Labor (DOL) in order to accomplish this. The LCA's goal is to ensure that your working circumstances won't have an impact on other employees of your business and that they will pay you the same wage as other similarly qualified workers in your area. Your employer must complete Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, after the DOL has certified the LCA, and submit both the LCA and the I-129 to USCIS together with any fees and required supporting evidence. These additional documents might also be your résumé, a letter of employment confirmation, a letter of support, any necessary fees, proof of your schooling, any training certificates, or documentation proving your professional membership, if applicable.
If your Form I-129 is accepted, you have two choices based on whether you are already a resident of the United States or not. If you have another type of visa and are currently in the country, you must wait until your H-1B visa status is activated before you may begin working. You must submit an application for consular processing if you are outside of the United States. You must fill out Form DS-160, which will take around 90 minutes to complete, in order to do this. Additionally, you'll need to schedule an interview at a nearby U.S. embassy or consulate and pay the application cost.
Once you've scheduled an interview, you'll need to provide documents like:
1. Your passport. This needs to be good for at least six months after the day you intend to enter the United States.
2. A copy of Form DS-160's confirmation page printed out.
3. A duplicate of your I-797 approval and your I-129 petition approval.
4. Receipts attesting to your payment of the application costs.
5. A photo of yourself the size of a passport that complies with U.S. State Department guidelines.
6. You might be asked questions about yourself, the position, your background, the employer, and your travel experiences during the interview.
H-1B visa is a dual intent visa card which means you are allowed to apply for a green card later if you wish to become a permanent resident of the U.S. Once you get the green card, your spouse is also eligible to apply for the green card.