What are the H-1B Eligibility Requirements
The first step towards getting an H-1B visa is to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. Here are the basics:
● Educational requirements: H-1B visa applicants must meet certain educational standards. You must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). Applicants with Master’s degrees or higher are given more opportunities for lottery selection.
● Employment requirements: You must have at least a full-time job offer from a U.S. employer with an employment contract that will last at least one year. Applicants must show evidence that it’s a legitimate employer and that they have the minimum experience required in the field.
● Financial requirements: From start to finish, the visa application can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000.Your prospective employer pays most of the H-1B visa application fees. However, applicants must have the financial means to support themselves during their stay in the U.S.
● Other requirements: You must have the necessary health and security clearances.
Who Can Qualify
The cap limits for the H-1B visa fill up very quickly. In 2018, for instance, the lottery for these visas received about 230,000 applications within just three days—a signal that this could be even tougher to get in 2023.
To complicate matters, there is a narrow window to submit your application in April of each fiscal year for an employment position that begins in October of that same year. If the cap isn’t met in the first lottery, the U.S. government holds additional lotteries until all the slots are filled.
There are many different scenarios under which a person can qualify for an H-1B visa. The most common reasons include the following:
● You’re filling a specialty occupation. - Specialized occupations typically require a Bachelor's or Master’s degree from an accredited U.S. educational institute or the equivalent in the applicant’s home country. Specialized occupations can include chemists, business analysts, or IT experts.
● You’re applying for an H-1B transfer. - If you’re already in the U.S. on an H-!B visa but want to change employers, you have to file the paperwork for an H-1B transfer.
The annual cap on this visa has been reached every year since 2010, with extremely high demand and a comparatively small supply.
How to Apply for an H-1B Visa
To get an H-1B visa, you first need to meet the eligibility requirements. Then, you must submit an application packet that demonstrates why you’re entitled to this visa.
There are specific instructions for each scenario. If you plan to file under a specialty occupation, you’ll first have to apply for the job and get an offer. Then, you’ll have to apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate.
If you’re applying for an H-1B transfer, you’ll have to submit an H-1B petition and an H-1B transfer request.
You’ll have to pay a fee to apply for an H-1B visa. The fee amount changes every year, so check the U.S. Department of State website for the latest information.
You also need to meet certain documentation requirements, so make sure you’re prepared. This isn’t a complete list by any means, but for starters, you will need the following:
● I-129 Petition
● Approved Labor Condition Application
● Supporting evidence, including
○ Copy of resume
○ Copy of job offer, including job description
○ Proof of your degree
○ Other evidence that may be particular to your case
● A copy of the passport
● Proof of prior employment
● Letter from registrar to certify completion of educational credits
● Copy of academic or technical degrees
● A copy of academic transcripts
● Letter from the present employer
How to Increase Your Chances
The H-1B visa is one of the most sought-after visas for professionals working in the U.S. It is also one of the toughest to get.
If you want to maximize your chances of getting an H-1B visa, you’ll want to take advantage of all available options. The more avenues you explore, the better your chances of success.
Here are some things you can do to improve your odds of getting an H-1B visa:
● Apply as early as possible. - You can start the process as soon as the government opens up the H-1B application period. The sooner you apply, the better, so be sure to start as soon as the period begins, and don’t wait until the last minute.
● Get a recommendation letter from a current or former employer. - This can help you stand out from the crowd.
● Check your home country's status. - You may have a better chance of getting an H-1B visa if you apply from a country with fewer H-1B visa holders.
● Get professional help. - A good immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of success.
● Have a Master’s Degree. - Applicants with Master’s degrees or higher will get two chances in the lottery. First in a separate lottery just for higher degree holders. If your application isn’t picked in that lottery, it goes into the general cap for another chance.
Applying for an H-1B visa isn’t easy. But it's possible to get approval if your circumstances qualify you and you meet all other criteria. If you want to maximize your chances of getting an H-1B visa, you’ll want to take advantage of all available options.
Visa2US can take you through the options to ensure all the right boxes are checked. We have experts on hand who can walk you through each step of the application process until it reaches its final conclusion.
The immigration procedure is complex, with the possibility of missteps that can waylay your application. With the help of Visa2US, you won’t have to worry about missed deadlines and other mistakes.