H1B Visa Requirements – Qualification, documentation & petition

H1B visa is one of the most popular nonimmigrant US visas for temporary workers in the United States. It is an employer sponsored work visa granted to foreigners who have got a job offer in the US. You need to meet H1B visa requirements and your employer must file a petition for your H1B visa with the US immigration department. 

H1B Visa Requirements - Qualification, documentation & petition
H-1 Visa Requirements

The approved petition is a work permit that allows you to get a visa stamp and work in the US for that employer. 

H1B visa requirements

Following are the important queries regarding H1B visa requirements:

Who can apply for H1B visa?

An H1B visa is granted by the US Government to a speciality occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge along with a bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. 

The employer needs to justify hiring a foreign worker and prove that a local citizen is either unavailable or not interested in the job.

What are the educational requirements for H1B visa?

  • Education is of much importance when it comes to H1B visa requirements. The beneficiary must hold a US 4-year bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent from a recognized college or university.
  • In case of a 3-year bachelor’s degree, work experience of 3 years in the similar occupation/ field can be considered.  
  • In occupations like doctor, dentist, architect, CPA, registered nurse, etc., the prospective employee must hold license or professional credentials before the H1B visa petition can be filed. 

What are the documents required for H1B visa?

The employee needs to give certain documents to the employer for the purpose of an H1B visa petition. Following are the basic documents for H1B:

  • Photocopy of Indian passport
  • Photographs of the applicant meeting the US visa photo requirements
  • Photocopy of academic transcript/ degrees/ certificates
  • Photocopy of offer letter from current employer
  • Experience letter from previous employer, if any
  • Photocopy of any certifications/ achievements

Is there a limit on H1B visas issued each year?

H-1B visa cap. The US Government issues 65,000 visas each financial year. An additional 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of applicants who completed their master degree or higher from a US university or institution are exempt from the cap. The limit is subject to change depending on the regulations set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  

What is the validity of H1B visa?

Initially an H1B visa is issued for 3 years, which can be extended up to 3 years. However, the total stay can’t exceed 6 years.  

What is the process to obtain H1B visa?

  • The applicant must meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above
  • The US employer needs to get Labor Condition Application (LCA) approval from the Department of Labor in the US
  • Employer will file an H1B petition with USCIS and get an approval for it
  • The applicant must apply for the visa and get the stamping at the US consulate or embassy in India
  • Now you can visit the United States and work for the employer.

H1B visa is subject to approval and each applicant must hold a valid passport. Complete the H1B visa application form, pay the application fee and attend the H1B visa interview at the applicable US consulate in India.  

H1B visa petition process

The US employer who is sponsoring you should file for an H1B visa petition with USCIS. The petition is a 2-step process. 

1. Labor Certification

2. Filing the H1B petition with USCIS 

1. Labor certification for H1B:

Your future employer must file the Labor Condition Application (Form ETA-9035), with the Form I-129 Petition for a nonimmigrant worker. The employer must submit a Labor Condition Application online.

2. Filing the H1B petition with USCIS: 

After the DOL certification, the employer needs to file the USCIS Form-129 along with the applicable fee, and other supporting documents (including LCA approval) to the USCIS. In most cases, the employer must pay USCIS filing fees unless specifically exempt under the law.

You may have to pay the fee associated with the LCA and USCIS petition. 

Important points about H-1B visa

  • H1B visa allows a total stay for up to 6 years. Initial approval is for 3 years which can be extended for up to 3 years. 
  • You can get a new stamping done in any other country, for example at a US consulate in India, based on the H1B extension approval.
  • H1B holders can work for more than one US employer, provided they have a Form I-129 petition approved by each employer.
  • While the visa holder may only work for the petitioning employer, the employer may send the H1B worker on another employer’s site.
  • H1B visa is a multiple entry visa that allows its holder to move in and out of the United States, till the time the visa is valid.
  • Family members i.e. spouse and unmarried children (below 21 years of age) of H1B professionals can stay in the United States under the H4 visa category for the same period of time as the H1B visa holder.
  • H1B alien can buy or sell properties or any other real estate in the USA

H1B visa holders of Indian origin may have several India-related queries. To get tailor-made answers/ solutions, you can download SBNRI App from the Google Play Store or App Store. You can also use the SBNRI app for investment in stock market/ mutual funds, NRI account opening, tax filing, etc. To ask any questions, click on the button below. Also, visit our blog and YouTube channel for more details. 

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