Apply H1B Visa Documents CheckList ? Cost ? What NOT to give ?

In Apply H1B Visa by Kumar584 Comments

Applying for H1B visa could be a very lengthy process and could be very tricky. There are many people back in India that can ask you for stuff you do not need and lock them with you. I will try to explain documents needed, exact cost and what you should not do in this article.

Very important. What you should NOT give to H1B sponsoring company?

Consultancies sometimes trick you if you do not know the process. They ask you for original certificates, passport and all other originals. You should NEVER give original documents of mark sheets, passport or any other documents to anyone. Promise me, you will NEVER give any originals!  You will need to carry the originals when you go for visa stamping, but not for applying.  Most of the times, USCIS will not ask for originals. There are always some exceptions and if they ask, please ask your H1B filing consultant to show you exactly what they got from USCIS and then only submit if needed.   If you give the originals, you are stuck with the employer who filed. DO NOT give any originals.

Checklist of documents required for applying H1B :

This is a very high level checklist for applying for H1B. There may be some exceptions, but for the most part, here is what you need :

  • Copy of all educational certificates of your Bachelors (also Masters if applicable) degree including mark sheets.
  • Copy of Degree award certificates
  • Copy of Passport- all pages
  • If degree from US, Transcript and degree award certificate.
  • If degree from US, Copy of I-20
  • If you are in US, copy of I-94
  • Copy of latest Resume.
  • Work experience certificates (if any )
  • If you already have a H1B approval, copy of previous H1B approval notice, I-797 form.
  • If you are transferring H1B, copy of recent 3 months paystubs from your previous employer
  • If you have any evaluation reports from work, copy of them too.
  • If you have lived in US and paid taxes, copy of previous W2 tax forms.
  • If you have lived in US, copy of your driving license or state ID
  • If you have lived in US and have SSN, copy of your Social Security Card.
  • If you have done education evaluation, copy of the education evaluations too.

How much does filing H1B really Cost?

Many of the consultancies tell fake stories and may trick you asking for huge sums of money. But, here is the blatant truth of how much does it actually cost.

Base filing fee $325

(American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998)

$750  ( For employers with 1 to 25) 

$1,500 ( For employers with 26 or    more full time equivalent employee )

Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
Fee based on Public Law 111 – 230 

Read H1B fee $2000 rule to check if it applies to your case

Premium processing fee $1,225 (If you intend to do premium)

You should check USCIS website for correct H1B filing fee, as they revise fee every year or 6 months.

The above details are exactly taken from USCIS website listing Hints for filing H1B-Cap Case You can check USICS for additional info and more details. USCIS: Frequent errors on H1B filing where USCIS have to deny or reject the petition.

Attorney fee is something that employer will incur and may be charged. It can be anywhere from $400 to $800. It all depends on the attorney.  All in all, you should not be tricked by too much fee asked by employer filing for H1B. In fact, as an employee you should not pay any fee for H1B petition it is your prospective employers responsibility to pay for the expense for H1B filing…

Overall, do NOT be tricked by your H1B filing consultancy. Think, ask and then act accordingly!

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Comments ( 584 )

  1. Suchi


    My H1 is approved last year but stamping is still not done. I recently traveled to India to get stamping done. But while went for stamping they told still pending with some docs from employer. When contacted employer they are not responding properly and saying still in progress. Is new rules causing employer to delay this?

  2. Spia


    I am a recent graduate and i have started working with a company on full time basis. They are sponsoring my H1-B this year. USPS has lost my original EAD while delivering, so i have applied for a new one. But it still has not been received. I am working with the company on basis of my Receipt. Will this cause a problem ?

    1. administrator


      I assume you mean applied for duplicate copy and not a new one. I think it should be ok as you are really approved for the EAD. Although you wouldn’t know what the expiration date is as the online status would just show it as approved. What did your employer do for I-9 verification?

  3. Anindita Roy

    Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for the info you provide here!! Question for you.. I have a high GPA for my graduate (masters) degree, but my undergrad degree really suffered from a few F’s in my first two 2 years of undergrad (I did graduate though, and did much better after changing programs!!). Will they actually read through my undergrad transcript?? Should I be afraid that my application will be denied because of my bad grades from more than 10 years ago? (Also, I work for a big tech company, and it’s never come up there thankfully!).

    Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated… thanks!

    1. administrator

      As you are not a fresh college grad, your grades should not matter. You are offered a role because you have the experience, that’s the logical way to look at it…Dont worry too much on this.

  4. Sonu

    I don’t have my UG degree certificate rather I have provision certificate. I have joined the new company with the PG certificates alone. But now, when company applies for H1B, they are asking for UG certificate. Can you please let me know what will happen in this scenario?

    1. administrator

      It is required document for applying for H1B. I guess, you will have to go and get your UG Certificate from the University, where you studied from…

  5. Kyle

    Hello Saurabh,

    Is submission of social security absolutely necessary for the H1B application? What does immigration typically do with social security? Do they run applicants’ social to search for identification, criminal or employment history?


  6. Gangula

    Hello Everyone,

    This is Gangula, I’m on F1 visa status did my masters in a for-profit university, I have seen issues with public and for-profit university very lately I regret my decision. So right now I’m on my OPT and planning to work in my uncle’s hospital as a data analyst and he is willing to apply for my H1 and all other stuff. As per the rule my masters degree doesn’t belong in master’s cap, can I file my H1 in general quota and I did my bachelors in electrical and electronics engineering and I have 1 yr experience in a company as data analyst and did my masters in IT. Will there be a problem if work for a hospital as data analyst.

  7. tarun

    I have applied fr H1B through consultancy.on they say That ur visa application has been final only stamping they are demanding me 5000 USD as basic travelling allowance.I want to know that is it mandatory to have traveller cheque of 5000 USD.

    Please its my request to guide me immediately as I have flight at 17 SEP2016

    1. administrator


      That is SHADY. Don’t give them any money. Are you sure your petition has been approved? Have you seen your approval notice?

      They claim that stamping is still left and you have flight on Sep 17. Do you have a visa stamping date prior to that?

      Something doesn’t look correct over here.

  8. Ritu

    please solve my problem, my daughter has a different birthday date in 10th marksheet & passport.Passport is original one. Will this create any problems in future coz school is not cooperating in changing the date. I m too too much tensed. She is in 12th now

    1. administrator

      Dont worry too much. You can always go to the local municipality office and get a birth certificate with the correct info in it. That will be a backup for anything. Also, in general, Passport is the base document that anyone will look at for date of birth.

    2. administrator


      From H-1 or H-4 perspective, it doesn’t matter what her 10th certificate says. They would rely on the passport date. Do you have the birth certificate for her? What’s the date mentioned there?

  9. Shrikant

    Hi Saurabh,

    Please ignore earlier post: A few corrctions..

    I got selected in lottery this year and just realized that I messed up sending the passport copy. I did send the copy of all passport pages. But while checking the docs yesterday I realized I sent the copy scanned in Jan 2015. After that i had travelled to dubai in March 2015. I had completely forgotten about my travel so I did not scan the passport again.

    Now the sent passport does not have this stamp and am very worried.

    Can you please let me know what happens in such scenarios?

    1. administrator


      No worries. Dubai is not a high alert country for them. So even if omitted, it is not a big deal. When appearing for visa interview, you will have to include all countries visited recently.

  10. Shrikany

    Hi Saurabh,

    I got selected in lottery this year and just realized that I messed up sending the passport copy. I did send the copy of all passport pages. But while checking the docs yesterday I sent the copy scanned in Jan 2015. After that i had travelled to dubai in March 2016. I had completely forgotten about my travel so I did not scan the passport again.

    Now the sent passport does not have this stamp and am very worried.

    Can you please let me know what happens in such scenarios?

  11. Kyle

    Hello Saurabh,

    Is it an absolute must to provide all W2 tax forms for the H1B application? I might not have all my W2 tax forms.



    1. administrator


      Not mandatory at all. These are good to have documents to show that you have maintained legal status. If USCIS officer has doubts then they may ask for W-2s but it is ok to submit some/none during initial submission.

  12. RP

    Hi Saurabh,

    I sent only first and last pages of my current passport and forgot to send all pages of my current passport and previous passport.

    Will it be problem during approval process or USCIS will issue RFE?

    I’m happy for my lottery and sad about missing documents to submit

    Please clarify my doubt.

    1. administrator


      Not a big deal. They may not ask for remaining pages, but even if they do it would be a simple RFE which you can address.

  13. vishal

    HI All, My name is vishal and I am on F1 visa right now, which going to be expire in May 2018. I am in school right now i can finish my study this year or either next year and My question is if i will finish my school by April 2017 and I will file H1 in April 2018 does they consider that my visa is going to be expire in next month after filling my H1. so does they effect on my H1 file or not?
    really need help

    1. administrator


      Visa stamp in passport is just for entry to US and doesn’t impact H-1 processing. What would matter is when you are graduating and when your OPT is expiring. This will control the SEVIS record. What are your OPT plans and does it qualify for STEM?

  14. Shreyas

    A consultancy firm called – Wireclass has asked me to pay $1100 for Training and then they will interview me with the Client. Only when I clear the interview and get theh offer letter, will Wireclass file my H1b.

    Is Wireclass a trustworthy company to go with?

    1. Sameer

      Hi Shreyas,

      My name is Sameer and I have plans of joining wireclass. My email ID is pandit.samee yahoo com. I would love to hear your personal experience, reviews and advise on wireclass. Please see if you could send me an email regarding this.

  15. Richard

    Right now I am on J1 internship visa, which will expire in the middle of July 2016. I am still a senior student ( in the 4th year of study ). My major is Software Engineering and I am doing an internship in the same field.

    My company where I do internship would like to apply for H1B visa that I could work for them after my internship.

    I won’t have a diploma on April 1st, but I’ve read on quora “… you’ve completed all your work and exams for Spring semester but don’t have your degree because your college doesn’t hold graduation exercises until later in the year, you may be able to apply before graduation”.

    Am I eligible for H1B and is it enough to have a proof from the university that ‘Estimated date of graduation is June 30, 2016″? I have all credits which I need for graduation, just need to defend bachelor thesis.


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