USA H1-B Visa Tips

The US H-1B visa allows foreign workers to be employed by US businesses in professions that require technical or theoretical expertise. Besides fulfilling the H1B requirements, here are some tips you can apply to maximize your chances of a successful application!

Apply early

The early bird gets the worm. This proverb applies in H1-B especially as the H1-B lottery has quotas that get filled quickly every year. You wouldn’t want to miss your chance of employment in the US simply because you put your feet up, so keep your eyes peeled for the application opening.

The USCIS opens applications in April, so have your application and documents ready well ahead of time!

Get a reputable employer

Unfortunately, applications of perfectly qualified candidates sometimes fall apart through no fault of their own. Sometimes, these applications fail because the employers cannot provide the documents required by USCIS, such as tax returns and financial records, which are needed to prove that they operate lawfully and are able to finance your employment.

This is why while startups are often full of technical jobs that fit this visa, applying with them as your employer can get tricky due to the often turbulent status of their business.

To make sure your employer can handle H1-B responsibly, ask them about their experience with filing for H1-B visas.

Make sure your employer pays your fees

Yet another point related to the reputability of your employer: they have to pay your visa fees. If you’re asked to pay for your own visa fees, walk away. If the USCIS finds out that it was you, not the employer, who paid for those, then your visa may be revoked.

Just think, if your employer won’t even pay for your visa processing fees, then who’s to say they have the financial means or responsibility to pay your wages?

Premium processing

After you’ve arranged your business with your employer, you may choose to pay a premium processing fee, which will make USCIS process your petition faster. However, paying this fee does not increase your chances of a successful visa application.

This fee can be paid by you or your employer. However, if you choose to pay this fee yourself, your employer must prove that this is done to your benefit, not theirs.

Get a cap-exempt employer

As we mentioned above, the USCIS has quotas, or caps, that serves as a limit of how many petitions they can accept. However, there is a way that you can avoid this cap. Get a cap-exempt employer.

Your employer is exempt from the cap if they are:

  • An institution of higher education
  • A non-profit organization associated with an institution of higher education
  • A non-profit or government research organization

If you’re hired by an employer who falls into these categories, you may even still work for a for-profit organization. For example, if a consulting firm has an agreement with your non-profit research organization, you may work according to that agreement in the frames of the regulations of your visa.

Be active in the application process

Besides being early to file your petition, there are other ways you can have more control and be confident in your application process.

Visa photo tip

The H-1B visa is quite complicated enough on its own, so make sure you don’t stumble on the little things. Photos used for US visa applications, for example, can be a surprising stumbling block, so learn the US photo requirements.

Check processing time

Applying for a visa can be unnerving, especially if it’s a complicated one like the H1-B. So you may be wondering when your petition is being processed. Luckily, you can check your processing time based on your USCIS case number.

First, identify your USCIS processing center from your case number. The first three letters stand for the location of your center: LIN is for Nebraska, EAC is Vermont, SRC is Texas, and WAC is California.

Then, open the official USCIS website and click “See Office Case Processing Times” under “Tools”. Choose your center and find out!

Keep open communication with your employer

The H1-B visa application process requires close cooperation with your employer. So build a good relationship and keep open communication to make sure your petition is successful.

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