Because of these factors, it's a highly coveted document, but it isn't easy to obtain approval. Some people must apply more than once, but there is concern that there's a limit to how many times you can apply for an H-1B visa. This guide answers those questions and helps you understand why the process works as it does.
The Application Process for an H-1B Visa
Before receiving an H-1B visa, a US employer must sponsor them with a job offer. The employer completes all documentation and pays most of the fees incurred throughout the process.
This begins with the submission of a Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). Once the LCA is approved, the next step takes you to the actual petition process with Form I-129. This form lets USCIS know that there is an active job opening available and a potential foreign worker to fill that position.
The form contains information about the job, the employee’s qualifications, and the employment agreement. This can take three to four months to process unless the employer adds the fee for premium processing.
When an H-1B Visa is Denied
The high demand for H-1B visas resulted in a lottery process to ensure everyone received a fair chance of approval. Eighty-five thousand petitions are approved annually, and the rest are returned to the submitter. In these situations, the employee is free to try again with the same or another employer as many times as it takes over the next years until their petition is selected in the lottery.
However, sometimes the H-1B petition makes it through the lottery process, and, upon review of the application, is denied. The denial may be because the employee doesn't meet the job qualifications, has a violation or criminal offense in their name, or for another reason.
If the worker is already in the US performing those job duties when the H-1B visa is denied, they must stop working immediately. Working with an immigration attorney, they can submit another application or appeal, but until then, they are ‘out of status’ and can’t continue to work.
Rejections are different from denials. Denials mean there’s a problem with the application that likely needs an attorney’s help to fix; otherwise, the holder will need to return home.
Rejections, on the other hand, occur when there’s missing information. It’s an easily-fixed technical error. You can correct and refile this as often as necessary. However, keep in mind there’s a time limit and a lot of competition for this visa. If you want to begin working when you’re supposed to, these errors should be as limited as possible.
Reapplying After a Denial
If you’re denied an H-1B visa because USCIS deems you don’t meet the criteria for the job, you can reapply in the future. In fact, there’s no limit on how many times you can apply. But USCIS suggests only applying again if there is a significant change in your education or circumstances to avoid further denials.
Significant changes include additional skills to your resume showing you are a highly skilled worker in that field, receiving further degrees in accredited schools, or proving the employer-employee relationship is legitimate.
Obtaining an H-1B visa is challenging, but having legal help makes the process and any obstacles along the way easier. Contact Visa2US and let us guide you along the way to avoid denials and rejections of your sensitive petition.
Don't give up if you’ve already received a denial or rejection! We’ll review your case and the reason for the denial/rejection and let you know what your options are. Our legal experts are available 24/7 to help you find out what you’re entitled to and how you may be eligible to get into the United States on an H-1B visa or through another route. Call or contact us online at Visa2US today!