Applying for H1B visa could be a very lengthy process and could be very tricky. There are many employers, especially IT bodyshop kind of companies, that can ask you for stuff you do not need to lock them with you. Also, if you are an F1 student on OPT applying for H1B, you will also require additional set of documents from the school. Let’s look at the documents needed for filing H1B Visa, cost of filing and what you should not give to your employer.
If you are new to the process, read How to Apply for H1B Visa – Process ?
H1B Filing – Registration vs Actual Petition Filing
USCIS changed their H1B petition filing process from FY 2021 as they introduced H1B Registration Process. In the new process, employers need to first register the H1B applicants or employees in the H1B Registration Online Tool, whom they intend to sponsor H1B to work in US. USCIS will run lottery first on the registrations as needed and give H1B Selection Notices. Employer will file actual H1B petition with USCIS after they are selected in registration process. Let’s look at what is needed for each of the processes.
Documents Checklist for H1B Registration Filing
Employers need very basic information regarding the employee or applicant in order to file the H1B registration. Below is the information required to be filled online. All you need is Passport( if the applicant has it)
- Legal Name of the H1B applicant – First, Middle and Family Name
- Gender of the applicant
- Option to select, if the applicant is eligible for US Masters H1B Quota
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- Country of Citizenship
- Passport Number ( There is option to check, if there is no passport number too )
So, technically, there is no much that needs to be given for registration process. Now, let look at the second step after selection in registration.
H1B Visa Petition Filing Documents Checklist
For an employer to file H1B Petition with USCIS, below is a very high level checklist :
- 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 ( electronic or physical copy)
- 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 pay stubs 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.
If you are F1 Student in US working on OPT or STEM OPT, you will need additional documents as listed below.
- OPT Card Copy
- STEM OPT Card Copy ( if applicable)
- Copy of the latest I-20 from your DSO that show OPT authorization.
- Copy of the I-94 ( electronic stating your student status)
- Pay stubs related to your work on OPT
- I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.
What Documents you Should NOT give to H1B sponsoring company?
Consultancies aka IT Body Shop companies sometimes trick you if you do not know the process. They may ask you for original certificates, actual passport and all other originals. You should NEVER give original documents of mark sheets, passport or any other documents to anyone. You will need to carry the originals only when you go for H1B visa stamping, but not for applying H1B Visa with USCIS. They will not ask for any originals, they may ask for education evaluation documents, but not the originals. There are always some exceptions and if they ask, please ask your H1B filing employer 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.
How much does filing H1B really Cost?
The H1B fee varies by the size of the company..As of FY 2021 season, it can range anywhere from $1,710 USD to $7,910 USD + Attorney Fee. There are various fees components that make up this number range, for full details check H1B Visa Filing Fee Details – Summary
You should check USCIS website for correct H1B filing fee, as they revise fee every few years or so.
Who pays for the H1B Visa petition filing Cost ?
As an employee you should not pay any fee for H1B petition filing with USCIS. it is H1B Sponsor’s expense and their responsibility to pay for all the expenses regarding H1B filing…Overall, do NOT be tricked by your H1B filing employer/ IT body shop company.
Understand H1B Visa Holder Rights – US Department of Labor Assistant
If you a new H1B seekers or an existing H1B employee, it is important for you to understand the rights of H1B worker. US Department of Labor has put up a nice assistant for you to give guidance on various aspects like Immigration Fee, Bench Pay, Wages, etc. Read H1B Holder Rights Assistant by US Dept of Labor
What has been your experience ? What is the check list ?