Know Your H-1B Visa Options
If you are considering working in the US on an H-1B visa, now is the time to get acquainted with this process and start preparing. There are certain requirements applicants must meet in order to apply for an H-1B visa.
There are two main H-1B visa types: the regular H-1B and the advanced H-1B. The latter applies to those working in a specific field that requires special knowledge or skill, such as a doctor, engineer, data scientist, account manager, or other professional position.
Both require a valid employer-employee relationship and that the employee is paid the prevailing wage based on the job's location and the required skillset.
To apply for the regular H-1B visa, the applicant must hold a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. The advanced degree visa requires a Master’s degree or higher.
H-1B Visa Basics
H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows skilled professionals to work in the United States. In other words, this visa allows foreign citizens to work temporarily in the US in a skilled position.
It is a temporary work visa valid for up to three years, with the potential of an optional extension.
The basic requirements for an H-1B visa include the following:
- Education: The prospective employee must have a degree from a recognized university and/or related experience.
- Work experience: They must have at least one year of relevant work experience in the past three years.
Submitting your application for the H-1B visa isn’t the first step. Your sponsor must complete a petition for pre-registration with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS.) Registration occurs for a two-week window starting on March 1.
From those registrations, 65,000 people are chosen to apply for an H-1B visa. If your petition is chosen, you have a 90-day window to submit your completed application and any supporting documents.
If you are granted an H-1B visa, your new job will start on October 1.
Cap Filing Strategies
The primary strategy for those seeking an H-1B visa is to file your application as soon as the season opens. That is, as soon as the government announces the start of the H-1B season on April 1.
If you wait to file after the first week of the season, you run the risk of not receiving your visa in time to enter the country and start working.
If you apply too early, you run the risk of your filing being rejected, as the US government doesn’t accept applications before they are due.
The problem, however, is that the number of applications exceeds the number of H-1B visas available. US Congress sets the limit on the total number of these visas that can be issued each year. Because of this, it is crucial to file early in order to increase your chances of being chosen in the random selection process.
Due to the annual quota on the H-1B visas, getting one can be quite tricky. However, if you are determined and well-prepared, you can increase your chances of securing an H-1B visa and begin working at your new company as soon as possible.
Review Your Documents
The last thing you should do before submitting your application for an H-1B visa is to review your documents. This includes your resume/CV, a letter of intent (cover letter), and a job description.
Your resume or CV should be in a traditional resume format but tailored specifically to H-1B requirements.
The letter of intent should be a one or two-paragraph letter that includes information about the job that you are applying for, your position at the company, the number of employees you will be supporting, and the length of time you expect to work for the company.
The job description should include information about the position you are applying for and why you are qualified for it. It should also include the number of hours you expect to work each week and the location of your position.
Know the Deadlines
Every year, the government updates the H-1B application. It is important to keep up with these changes to ensure you are applying for a visa correctly.
For example, did you know that in the past, employers had to post a job description on the Department of Labor website for 30 days before applying for an H-1B visa? This is no longer required.
There are many other updates to the H-1B application process. It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest information and developments so that you can submit a successful application.
Because of the unpredictability of the H-1B visa application process and the fact that each application takes about 90 days to be processed, you want to make sure you have an experienced third-party representative to manage your application.
The H-1B visa process can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Start preparing as early as possible, and make sure to use every resource you can to make your application as strong as possible.
Candidates who qualify to apply for an H-1B visa have a limited window of time every year to do so, or they risk having to wait till the following year again.
Visa2US can help ensure you’re not caught off guard and miss your opportunity. The well-versed legal experts here will take you through each step of the H-1B visa process, check the status of your application, and ensure the process is moving smoothly.