The US H1B Visa is one of the most popular ways to work in the US. It is a visa that an employer must apply for on behalf of a specialist employee. Since the visa is granted to specialists, typically applicants hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and are from fields such as IT, finance, architecture, medicine, science etc. Y-Axis helps employers with filing for H1B petitions for their employees. We also help employees from across the world get hired by companies likely to sponsor them for an H1B visa.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ graduate-level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. Here’s an overview of how the H1B visa process generally works:
Throughout the process, there are numerous legal and regulatory steps to be followed, and the timing and specific requirements can vary based on individual circumstances and current immigration laws. The complexity of the process often necessitates legal advice or the assistance of an immigration professional.
The H1B Visa is one of the most competitive visas to apply for. Due to there being an annual visa cap, there is a huge demand from US employers applying for this visa. Additionally, since it is a route to a Green Card, it is one of the best visas to apply to work in the US.
Under the H1B, successful petitioners can:
The H1B is a point based visa system and you need a minimum of 12 points for your application to be assessed. You must have:
You are awarded points as follows:
Once you score a minimum of 12 points, your H1B petition can then be prepared.
Applying for an H1B visa and sponsoring an H1B candidate can come with a variety of challenges both for the applicants and the sponsoring employers:
Competitive and Costly Process: The cap on H1B visas makes the process highly competitive. Additionally, sponsoring an H1B visa can be expensive for employers due to filing fees, legal costs, and the potential for needing to reapply each year if not selected.
Regulatory Compliance: Employers must comply with various regulations, including labor condition applications that attest to the wages, working conditions, and that the employment of H1B workers will not adversely affect U.S. workers.
Public Scrutiny and Audits: There is increasing scrutiny of companies that employ H1B workers. Employers may face audits by the DOL to ensure compliance with the terms of the labor condition application.
Workforce Planning Challenges: The uncertainty inherent in the lottery system makes it difficult for employers to plan their workforce needs, as they cannot be sure that a selected candidate will actually receive a visa.
Retention Concerns: If an H1B employee chooses to leave the company or if their visa is not extended, the employer must find a replacement, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.
Risk of Visa Denials: An increase in visa denials or Requests for Evidence (RFEs) has been reported in recent years, creating additional hurdles for employers trying to hire foreign talent.
Both applicants and sponsors must navigate a complex web of legal and procedural requirements throughout the H1B visa process. The dynamic nature of immigration policies, the competitive landscape, and the administrative burdens can present significant challenges for all involved parties.
The best time to apply for an H1B visa is generally early in the year before the U.S. government's fiscal year begins on October 1. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically starts accepting H1B petitions on April 1 for the visas that will be issued in the fiscal year starting October 1. Here's a timeline and some considerations for H1B visa application:
January to March: This is the period when applicants and their prospective employers should start preparing their H1B visa petitions. It involves gathering all the necessary documentation, including labor condition approval (LCA) from the Department of Labor, which must be filed before the H1B petition.
April 1: USCIS begins accepting H1B petitions. Since there's a cap on the number of H1B visas issued each year, and the demand often exceeds the cap within the first few days of April, it's crucial to have the petition ready to submit by this date.
After April 1: Once the cap is reached, USCIS will not accept any new H1B petitions for that fiscal year. If the petition is selected in the H1B lottery and approved, the beneficiary can start working on October 1, the start of the fiscal year for which the visa is issued.
It's important to note that the preparation for filing an H1B petition should begin well in advance of these dates. Employers and applicants need to account for the time it takes to:
Here are the steps to apply for H1B visa
Determine your visa type by reading Common Nonimmigrant Visas. Each visa type explains the qualifications and application items. Choose the visa type that applies to your situation.
The next step is to complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully. All information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you cannot make any changes.
Once you have completed the DS-160, you must pay the visa fee.
You will need to log in to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee. On the website, you must schedule two appointments, one for the Visa Application Center (VAC) and one for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.
Ensure you take the required documents with you for the Visa Application Centre (VAC) appointment.
After your visit to the Visa Application Centre to have your photo and fingerprints taken, you will then visit the U.S Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview along with the required documents.
The cost of an H1B visa can vary depending on a variety of factors, including attorney fees, the size of the sponsoring company, and whether the employer chooses to expedite the processing of the petition using Premium Processing. The basic costs set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are as follows:
For the Sponsoring Employer:
For the Applicant:
The processing time for an H1B visa can vary based on several factors, including the workload at the USCIS service center where the petition is filed, the accuracy and completeness of the petition, and whether the employer has opted for premium processing. Here is a general breakdown:
The standard processing time can range from 2 to 6 months. However, this can fluctuate widely depending on the volume of applications received by USCIS and other factors affecting their workload.
Employers can choose premium processing by paying an additional fee of $2,500. This service guarantees that USCIS will process the petition within 15 calendar days. If USCIS fails to meet this deadline, they will refund the premium processing fee but will continue to process the petition expeditiously.
Factors Affecting Processing Time:
After Visa Approval:
Once the H1B visa petition is approved, the applicant needs to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The time frame for an appointment can vary, and visa processing at the consulate typically takes a few days to a few weeks.
Applicants and employers should monitor the USCIS website for the most current processing times, as these can change. Additionally, it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or a professional for the most up-to-date and detailed information regarding individual circumstances.
February 06, 2024
United States launched H-1B visa renewal under pilot program and allows eligible citizens from India and Canada to renew their visas without requiring leaving the country. The Department of State will offer up to 20,000 application slots during the pilot program. Application slot dates are released on specific periods of time starting from January 29, 2024 to February 26, 2024. The department estimates a processing time of five to eight weeks after receiving applications.
February 05, 2024
USCIS has revealed a final rule for H-1B registration process to strengthen the integrity of visa and reduce fraud. The rule will be operative after the initial registration period for FY 2025. It will be effective from March 01, 2024 and the cost for the registration will be $10. The initial registration period for FY 2025 H-1B cap will start on March 6, 2024 and end on March 22, 2024. USCIS will accept online filings of Forms I-129 and related Form I-907 for H-1B petitioners starting on February 28, 2024.
January 16, 2024
USCIS received sufficient number of petitions and reached the cap for H-2B visas for returning workers. Petitions are still being accepted for the separate allocation of 20,000 visas reserved for nationals of specific countries. Petitioners whose workers were not approved under the returning worker allocation have an alternate option to file under the country specific allocation whilst the visas are still available.
January 9, 2024
Elon Musk suggested increasing the H1-B visa caps and an employment document enabling foreign workers to travel to the US. He said, “Skilled workers should enter the US legally, and illegal migration has to be stopped”.
December 23, 2024
Indians waiting for Green Cards can check their status in advance.
The US has released the Visa Bulletin of January 2024, and the Bulletin consists of both the Dates of filling the application and the Final dates of action. Check your Green card status now. The Green card status depends on your specific visa category and the country you are applying from.
Dec 11, 2023
USCIS increases the visa fee across various immigration streams
USCIS has made new changes to the visa fee by increasing the fee across various immigration processes and streams. The changes have been made for the H1-B visa, L visa, EB-5 investor, Employment authorization, and citizenship. The H-1B visa fee may see a significant hike of 2000%, and petition fee for H-1B visa application by 70%.
Oct 13, 2023
H-2B visa cap met for early 2024 by USCIS
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has already reached its limit for H-2B visa applications for temporary non-farming jobs for the first half of fiscal year 2024. As of October 11, 2023, they are no longer accepting applications for positions starting before April 1, 2024. Any H-2B applications for this period submitted after the aforementioned date will not be considered.
Sep 28, 2023
USCIS Awards $22 Million in FY 2023 Citizenship and Integration Grants
Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted more than $22 million to 65 entities across 29 states. These funds are intended to assist lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in their journey towards naturalization.
Sep 27, 2023
USCIS Increases Employment Authorization Document Validity Period for Certain Categories
USCIS has revised its Policy Manual, extending the maximum validity duration for initial and subsequent Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to 5 years. This applies to specific noncitizens whose employment permission is tied to their status or situation, including individuals admitted or paroled as refugees, those granted asylum, and individuals who have received withholding of removal.
Sep 25, 2023
USCIS Exempts Biometric Services Fee for all Form I-539 Applicants
Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared that the biometric services fee for Form I-539, used for extending or changing nonimmigrant status, will be waived. Starting October 1, applicants won’t have to pay the $85 fee for biometric services when submitting Form I-539. Applications dated October 1 or thereafter will be free from this charge.
Aug 19, 2023
DHS Issues Proposed Rule to Modernize H-2 Temporary Visa Programs and Strengthen Worker Protections
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated measures to enhance safeguards for workers under the H-2A agricultural and H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker schemes (referred to as H-2 programs). In a recently released notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), DHS aims to update and elevate the H-2 programs by offering more flexibility to workers and streamlining the system. This update also emphasizes safeguarding workers from potential misconduct by employers and introduces whistleblower protections.
Aug 05, 2023
USCIS Updates Receipts Process for Form I-129S
When submitting both Form I-129S, rooted in the Blanket L Petition, and Form I-129 for Nonimmigrant Workers, petitioners can expect two separate notifications: a confirmation of receipt and, if successful, an approval notice. The previous practice of getting a stamped and signed Form I-129S and the Form I-129’s approval will no longer occur. Instead, an independent approval notice for Form I-129S will be issued, acting as the official endorsement.
July 31, 2023
The second round of lottery for US H-1B is likely to be held by August 2, 2023
USCIS earlier announced to conduct the second round of the US H-1B visa lottery for the FY 2024. Following the announcement, the lottery is expected to be held by August 2nd, 2023. Around 20,000 to 25,000 H-1B petitions will likely be selected via the lottery.
July 28, 2023
US to hold second round of H-1B visa lottery of FY-2024. Apply now!
US announced to conduct the second round of H-1B visa lottery selection for Fiscal Year 2024. The initial round of Lottery was held in March 2023 on accurately submitted Electronic registrations for FY 2024. USCIS received 7, 58,994 eligible registrations for the FY 2024 H-1B cap, out of which 1, 10,791 were selected.
July 24, 2023
The US plas to H-1B visa intake is to double as per the new bill
Indian- Origin Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi passed a bill to double the H-1B annual intake. The current yearly intake of H-1B visas to said to be 65,000, while the latest bill proposes a total intake of 1, 30,000. Approximately 85,000 workers are hired by the U.S. via the H-1B intake, of which 20,000 are international students and 65,000 are foreign workers.
July 04, 2023
‘H-1B & L-Visa restamping in the U.S.’ under a new pilot program: Indian-American Techie
The United States launched a pilot program for temporary work visa renewals domestically. The announcement came as a relief to all the Indian H-1B visa holders in the U.S. The pilot program is set to launch later this year. Eventually, the program will also include other visa categories.
The massive pool of Indian American working-class professionals in the U.S. applauded the announcement.
June 19, 2023
U.S. Work Visas and Permanent Residency after Graduation for International Students
Foreign students studying in the United States hope to work in the country after graduation. Understanding the work visa and permanent residency options can be very helpful. This article breaks down the options for undergraduate and graduate-level students.
June 06, 2023
USCIS issued 442,043 H1b visas in FY 2022. Check your chances of an H1b visa now!
In FY-2022, most of the H-1B applications were majorly for initial and continuing employment.Out of which 132,429 applications were for initial employment. The initial employment applications that were approved include both new and concurrent employment.
May 12, 2023
New Act to Lift the country quota for U.S. Green Card
A new Act was introduced to eliminate the country quota for US Green cards. Candidates with STEM advanced degree from the US universities get eligibility to stay and access green cards. A Green Card, formally referred to as a Permanent Resident Card, is an official document given to immigrants in the United States to confirm that they have been granted the right to reside in the country permanently.
May 8, 2023
Cost comparison and ROI of 25 best universities in the USA
Millions of students across the globe forage for the top best-ranking universities in the USA. Students and their families jot down the checklist of colleges based on the university rankings and other important factors. Federal Financial Aid is one of the most accommodative policies wherein students can avail of grants, loans, or scholarships in the form of the government’s financial support. Most top universities are teamed up with this initiative, making even the most aristocratic universities a reasonable bargain for students.
May 04, 2023
Faster processing and interview waivers for US visas, USCIS latest visa updates
The US has planned to shorten the wait times for Visit visas for Indians by waiving the interview process. Applicants with “clearance received” or “department authorization” status on their previous visas can apply for a new visa using the interview waiver process.
Those applicants are eligible for the interview waivers who are renewing any visa in the same category with expiration within 48 months.
The H1B visa requires the highest quality of documentation in order to give your petition a chance at success. Y-Axis has the knowledge and experience to ensure your application is thorough and meets all benchmarks. Our teams assist with:
The H1B Visa is a life-changing opportunity for anyone looking to work in the US. Y-Axis can help you make the most of this opportunity with our end-to-end support that starts with helping you find a job, applying for a visa, applying for a PR and more. Talk to us today to discover how we can help you.
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