H1B Checklist for Application

H1B Visa Petition Filing Documents Checklist ? What NOT to give ?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 653 Comments

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 ?

   

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Comments ( 653 )

  1. Praveen reddy

    HI please help me. I have done my bachelors degree in india. I went to UK for masters. but unable to complete. I onli got PG Diploma. so my H1 filing person said USCIS will not accept PGD.. so onli MS needed.. But as i dont have.. i am planning to put forged memos.. later after MS.. i am keeping my gunuine 16-18 months experience.. I would like to kno whether US homeland will back ground check MS also by contacting UK authorities… or else will it be fine as Bachelors degree & Employment experience are genuine… ???

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If you have 16 years of education then you are already eligible for H-1. DO NOT add any fraud education/experience to your profile. File w/ genuine education and experience (if any).

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          The H-1 employer/attorney may ask for them at the time of filing, and the same need to be submitted to them, who would then use them to file the petition w/ USCIS.

          1. Raja

            Do we need to submit all our experience letters.ie If i have 7 years of experience then I can get the latest from my employer ( 4 years) . Is all the documents supporting all 7 years mandatory.

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Raja,
            Nice to have all, but the most recent 4 years should also be good enough. Usually experience letters are required when USCIS wants to ensure that you are qualified for the offered position.

  2. Dinesh

    I joined my first company in 2005 with out completing my B.Tech degree. I have cleared my arrears and completed my b.tech in the year 2011.
    I have resigned from my company now.My service letter states that I have worked from 2005 to 2010 and my degree clearly shows the year of pass out as 2011.
    Am I eligible to apply for my H1B visa?

  3. Samar

    Hi Saurabh,

    H1 is been applied from my company.
    now i have so many queries which i would like you to address and will be helpfull to others too ..
    1)I lost all my original certificates, but managed to get BE duplicates. waiting for diploma marks card and certificates. If i dont get before H1 stamping interview, how should i deal with this situation?
    2)Name in pass port differs by single alphabet from BE degree certificate? Will that make a difference? how should i deal with it.
    3) My first company wher i worked didnt gave me any experience letter nor offer letter, but still i have mentioned it in my resume as i worked for that company was true. I just have single letter sayin i work for this company. Now that company is closed, and i dont had a good relation with that company CEO as he duped all his employees. How this gonna affect me? pls brief on this.

    Please help me with above Questions ?

    Thanks……….

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      1. Did the employer send your degrees/marksheets to an education evaluation agency? If yes, then you should carry that to answer any questions related to your education qualification. If you don’t have originals, then you can carry the photo-copies or duplicates and answer truthfully to the officer.
      2. Should be ok
      3. You can carry that letter and any payslips you have from that employer to show you were employed w/ him. If you know any colleague from that company, you can carry a letter from that colleague mentioning that you did work for them.

      1. Samar

        Thanks a loads………. 🙂
        1) I’m not sure weather my company give degrees/marksheet to education evaluation agency, i should check and if so, i should take a letter of it right? what will we call for it…?
        3) I dont have any pay slips, but i can get letter from colleague to prove that i worked for that company. A white paper write up is enough with his signature and contact no.?

        Thanks………

  4. Nitin

    Hi Sourabh,
    My company is applying my H1b visa and for that they requires my Degree certificate and mark sheet of all the semester. I have mark sheet of 7 semesters but I did not get my 8th semester mark sheet. I also have provisional certificate (Consolidated mark sheet).
    Just want to know that, will there be any problem as I dont have my last semester mark sheet? My all other documents are ready.

    Thanks,
    Nitin

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It might work out. Those documents are required to confirm that you have necessary education and qualifications for the specialized job. If one mark-sheet is missing, your attorney can reason the same and provide documentation/explanation telling how you qualify. Talk to your employer/attorney about it.

  5. Gholamali

    Dear Sir/madam,

    Please kindly lead me to find a company to can do my H1-B sponsorship. I am going to lose October and I don’t want to stay 1 more year. I live in USA with F-2 visa. I am ready to pay H1-B expenses by my pocket.
    Please help.

    BR,
    Gholamali

  6. Alex

    HI Saurabh,

    first of all thank you for your reply to my previous question.

    I m an experienced (7 years) marketing manager and I worked for wordwide leading companies in Italy. I moved to USA few months ago with a travel visa (b2) and I m in the process of looking for a H1B Visa.
    I believe is wasting time just submitting my resume and applying everywhere, as h1B visa is such a niche in the labor market.
    So, could you suggest me your best strategy for successful looking for a H1B Visa?
    My idea is to hire the services of companies specialized in helping people to stay in touch with companies providing H1B, and I found this one on the web:

    http://www.h1base.com/content/store

    Do you believe it is reliable and it is gonna help me? Should I buy their advanced services or just the basic database they offer?
    Any other suggestion?

    Thanks for giving me tips!

    Alex

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I don’t know the quality of their content, and so can’t comment whether it’s worth the cost or not. But it’s definitely worth a shot. The other thing you can do is to search for openings on job sites like dice, monster etc that match your profile and see if those companies sponsor H-1. Also, if you know companies that usually have positions matching your profile, then you can directly approach them from their websites. However, these two may be tedious and may not generate instant returns as several resumes are submitted to them. Another option is to network around and know about openings in your personal/professional network.

      Good luck!

  7. Rajesh

    Hi Saurabh,
    I have work exp of 9 yrs and i am planning to apply for H1b visa . The problem is i have gap in my education for around 2 yrs as i completed my graduation late . Will this affect or have any impact on my chances of getting an H1B visa ? or will this be a proble while doing education evaluation
    thanks in advance

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If you eventually completed your degree, then I think you should be fine. Besides, you have substantial years of work experience as well. However, an education evaluation agency would be able to stamp that for you (that your education and work experience really makes you eligible for H-1).

  8. krishantumati

    Hi,

    I am currently working for a MNC in India and associated with this company from last 6yrs. I joined here by keeping 3yrs of fake experience from another MNC.
    I am having business visa and travelled US 5times on business visa. Please let me know if there are any problems applying for H1B through my company, with with H1b will be filed by my company with the experience of 6yrs(current)+3yrs(fake).

    1. Santosh

      First of all, you did not mention what your higher level degree is?
      If you have a 4 year Bachelors degree (minimum as per USCIS), then there is no need to put a fake work experience (Doesn’t mean that I am encouraging you to, if otherwise). You can put fake experience, and if you get caught, maximum that you would lose is a negative record + cancellation of your existing B1 visa. Please be reminded that you will never be able to come to US, if you are caught doing so. 🙂
      All the best.

  9. Abhi

    Hi Saurabh,

    I appreciate your sincere efforts in guiding people here regarding their visa questions/problems.

    I am going to India for my H1B stamping in New Delhi consulate. I have my approved I-797 notice and I have two cards in the lower side of the notice. One says that it is my new I-94 departure card and the other says it is for personal records. I have my old I-94 departure card which I received when I entered in the US previously on my OPT. So, which one I have to give to the airline while I depart from the US ??

    Also, do I need to give the personal record card (from the I-797 notice) to the airline while departing from the US ??

    Thanks a lot
    Best Regards

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      While leaving US, you should submit the I-94 you received when entering US and the I-94 that came attached w/ 797. The one for personal records is for you, and you can keep it. Ensure to keep a photocopy of the documents before handing them over to the airline. You can staple the 2 together and hand it over to the airline.

  10. Alex

    Hi Saurabh,

    I got in Italy a degree that is equivalent to the Master’s Degree in USA. When submitting my documents, should I submit even an official translation from Italy to English, or they are fine in the original language?

    Thank you for your reply
    Alex

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It would be better to submit translated information. If your employer/attorney are planning to get it your degree evaluated then that agency would prepare it’s evaluation in English, which you can then submit to USCIS.

  11. Bruno

    Hello Saurabh,

    Is there any minimum salary required to be paid to an H1b visa holder? Can I work on a low salary if I wish to? I have been told its at least U$50.ooo year for an international sales job.

    If thats the case what are the alternatives to have the H1B but working under the prevailing wage according to the DOL?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      When on H-1, a person is required to be paid at least the salary determined by DOL. So if you are filing for a job where minimum salary is 25K USD per year, then you cannot work for less than that amount.

  12. Swati

    I am working in Company A. Initially i was in india but now i deputed to USA on H1B Visa.My current company own that Visa.
    I want to change my Job as salary is very low.
    I want to change Job in 2 weeks. Is company can enforce me to pay amount 10K/5.5K if i leave early on? Is it bond?
    I will let my manager know but if he denies than i want to leave company. Is company can take any legal action based on this offer letter statement?

    but in my current company offer letter, they have mentioned below stuff.I didn’t signed any other legal document except offer letter.

    “In the event you voluntarily terminate your assignment without providing A with 90 days written
    notice, or if your assignment is terminated for cause by A, you agree to pay A the amount of
    Ten Thousand Dollars and no/100 cents ($10,000.00), which sum represents As cost of
    customer service continuation, recruiting, assigning, training, educating, marketing, and your
    replacement. You may decide to satisfy this requirement in Lieu of, as per the following :
    – If your notification period is 0 to 60 days, the payment is $10,000
    – If your notification period is 61 to 90 days, the payment is $5,500
    A company can and will engage the services of a collection agency if payment is not received by the employees resignation date.”

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Not all bonds are enforceable, but some are. Even then the burden is on the employer to show actual business loss in order to incur any financial compensation. What you should do is get this document reviewed by a labor lawyer and see what can be enforced in the court.

      1. Swati

        Saurabh, thanks for answer. Offer letter is just print out and i signed it. There is no government paper. Is it called bond? There is no sign of US Government on paper. It has just this statement and some other stuff.

        I thought to contact attorney but thought you are expert hence contacted you.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Actually it’s not a bond but a contract b/w you and your employer. It doesn’t need to be on government paper and can be on plain A-4 sheet or company letter head.

          I don’t have much idea about labor laws and I don’t want to mislead you by giving an incorrect opinion. That is why I suggested talking to a labor lawyer.

  13. Jack

    i don’t have work experience letter of previous Employer. Will there be any issue while applying for Visa extension? Is it mandatory? can my previous employer can make any issue in my current H1B Visa Transfer?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It’s not mandatory but it’s really good to have. It would be required if the officer wants to verify your expertise by looking at past experience letters. If the VO feels no such need to verify your past experience, then these documents will not be required.

      1. Jack

        Thanks for reply. Generally Work experience letter contains Joining Date and Reliving Date from company. I had problem with my previous employer and he didn’t provide me Experience letter so I want to know how it can affect my extension. I have payslip and Joining letter of previous employer.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          You mean that the previous employer is the employer who held your old 797 and you were working for that employer in US on H-1, right?

          If yes, then lot of companies do not issue experience letters in US. USCIS may ask you to show that you have been maintaining legal status in US which can be proved by submitting payslips and W2s (not experience letters). Generally, lack of experience letter from previous H-1 employer doesn’t effect the processing adversely.

          Let me know if that is not the case.

          1. Jack

            Thanks Saurabh. You are absolutely correct. My old 797 hold by previous employer .
            I have all legal documents to provide as proof.

            Thanks for quick resolution.

  14. puppy

    My 2nd year mark sheet of my bachelors degree (distance) from India is missing. I won`t be able to get that done as my univesity is closed. I am working with a client for 8 years and I have all the other relevant docs . My company is planning to apply in April and will they be still be able to apply for H1B? What are my chances of getting it approved?

    1. Santosh

      Hi,
      Just curious, if your company is planning to apply in next April, you still have lot of time to get a duplicate marksheet. Anyways just to give you a bit of more info, by USCIS law, if the latest degree that you got was from a non-US university, then you need to get education evaluation done (don’t worry that’s something which is taken care of by the company or its attorney). For the education evaluation, you need your final degree certificate and your semester marksheets/consolidated marksheet (ONLY SCANNED COPY). The evaluator will evaluate your credentials and certify that its “atleast” equal to the US bachelor’s degree (if it is). So the answer is yes, you can, if you have your consolidated marksheet.
      Another thing that you could do is, if you have a scanned copy of the missing marksheet, that should be fine. But do inform your company your situation, and confirm with them, if you can send the scan copy now and apply for the duplicate marksheet as soon as your univ reopens.
      Basically the USCIS needs to see the courses that you have taken during your bachelors and compare it with the US standard.
      Good luck,
      Santosh

  15. pooja

    Hi,
    Please help me out in this situation,i got my H1B visa approved on oct 2008 and i worked for 6 months and due to some problem i changed to H4 visa on may 2009 and after that i didnt work ,my visa is expired now ,but i have decided to work now …so what can i do .i know that if my employer applys for extension they will ask for client letter which i will not be able to give cos i dont have job …what to do please help me…. is it possible to get approved without client letter ….what are my options?i have been searching for job but when they ask for my visa exp date i am not able to answer ??please give me some suggestions and options…..

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Client letters are a MUST when filing through small consulting companies. If you don’t have client letter, then you need to file through a bigger employer or someone who is not in consulting business (for example a product based company). You can look for a new employer as well, and as you have already been counted in the quota, you don’t need to go through it again. So it would be H-1 transfer + automatic extension in this case.

  16. Prithviraj Chamala

    hello

    I did my masters with major as computers from University of Illinois. During my opt I came back to India due to emergency. I am thinking to work in India in networking field for 1 year or more and apply for H1 from any US employer. Can I get H1 visa?

    masters-Computer Science/networking field 2010 passed out
    B Tech-Coputer science 2009 passed out.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes, as long as you maintained legal status while you were in US on F-1 and OPT. You would need to find an employer who has a specialized job requiring your skill-set.

  17. abhi

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am going to India for H1B Visa stamping in New Delhi consulate. I do not have my class 12th original marksheet but have an attested photo copy. Could you suggest me if I need an original marksheet or a photocopy will do ?

    Thanks
    Best Regards

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I have hardly come across cases where the VO asked for class 12th marksheet. So I would say photocopy would be good enough. But past experiences doesn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t ask for it in future.

      1. shanks

        Hi Saurabh,

        I am going to India for my first H1B Visa stamping in New Delhi consulate. As I was going through the checklist for the documents required in the interview, I came across with the following employer documents which are recommended to take to the interview.

        1) Petitioner’s Income Tax Return for the last two tax years and financial statements.

        2) A notarized list of all the petitioner’s employees for each location. The list should show all employees’ names, their specific job titles, start dates, end dates, and their individual salaries and immigrations status.

        3) State Unemployment Wage Reports, showing all wages paid to each employee in the state, for the past three quarters as filed to all states or specific states. (This should not be payroll reports, but the actual forms filed to the State authorities listing each employee and wages paid during the quarter.)

        I work for a small company with about 40 people and I am the first one who is sponsored by my company.

        I would greatly appreciate if you would suggest me if I should ask my employer for these documents and if these documents are even really needed for interview ??

        Thanks
        Best Regards

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Lot of time, employers don’t provide that information to employees as they that includes company confidential information. You can gauge if the employer would be willing to provide those documents. If not, don’t push for it too hard, but ask them if they would be ready to send the documents to the consulate if they are asked for.

          If officer ass for the document during stamping, then you can ask the employer to post the documents to the consulate. If the officer doesn’t ask for the documents, then you are all set and good to go.

  18. Krishnan

    Hi Saurabh,

    I passed out in 2001. Due to recession in 2001, i am not getting job untill 2003. I put fake experience and got the job. Then I moved to 3 companies from 2003 to 2011. I am working in the 3rd company with 1st company(company is still functioning) with fake of 2.5 years. While i was in 2nd company, i went to US with L1. Now my current company is willing to process H1. I do not want to put fake experience, i do not know how to convinience by current company to avoid fake. Suppose if i apply with fake(2001 to 2003) experience what will be the impact.

    If i am not putting my fake exp, how can i answer questions, if visa officer ask the question about the 2001 to 2003 gap ?

    Please give your suggestion for me ASAP .

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      IMO, you should not put fake experience in your resume and also in DS form that you would be submitting. US takes fraud representation very seriously, and you can be in lot of trouble if they get hold of this. I don’t think being employed for 2 years in 2001-03 is a bad thing from H-1 perspective. What they are more interested is whether you have the right skillset for the job being offered, and how credible your employer is.

      1. love

        hi saurabh,

        Congratulations on a great help u are doing.. One question, i have just got my H1 pp approved and my employer will be getting the 797 in 3- 4 days, i work for big it services company here in HYd and they are sending me to client’s place.
        what are the chances of h1b stamping being refused (%age)? what are the exact docs i need to carry, read the hyd consulate website and they show a whole lot of docs including list of all employees of current employer (15000+ of them) and their last 2 years tax returns and all..
        I have also travelled on l1A earlier do i need to carry my marriage photo album and things like that?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Employee list etc are relevant more to smaller employers, but for big employers like yours, they are really not required. Lof of information about big employers (especially publicly traded ones) can be found online. Other documents required for consulting companies is client information, contract etc. You also need to carry documents related to yourself like resume, degrees, marksheets etc. You need to carry photo album, wedding card, marriage certificate if your spouse is accompanying you for H-4 visa.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You don’t want to hear my opinion on applying w/ fake certificates. You should go the H-1 route, only if intend to apply w/ genuine certificates.

    2. love

      while filing for H1 show the correct cert the 2007 one, u just have to manage it within ur current org, i dont think the HR would be seeing the docs that u file for visa..

  19. Bruno

    Hello Saurabh,

    Quick question…

    Once your H1B gets approved and everything, are you tied up to the employer for the period that the visa is valid? In other words, can you change employers once you have the H1B? Or your new employer will have to file another work visa for you?

    Thanks a lot for your help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes, you can definitely change the employers. A new employer can file H-1 petition for you (not subject to annual quota) and you can work for that employer.

  20. Nadia

    Hi,

    I have 7 years of experience in IT. I have an engineering degre in computer science. I am now willing to get and H1B and work in the US.

    I was recently contacted by a consultant based in India. The person first of all asked me to forward the scanned copies of all my documents which I did. The consultant forwarded the documents to an attorney in the US. The US attorney replied positively after a few days and said that I am eligible for getting an H1B visa. The consultant also told me that the atorney will help find a sponsor for me there and they are quite sure that they will find one (based on my experience).

    The consultant here in India charged 20,000 for advice and forwarding my case to its US counterpart. The consultant also told me that it will cost me another $6000 in order to get a visa. This cost included the H1B visa fee(about $2000) and the rest($4000) is Attorney’s fee + the company or Agency’s share who is finding a sponsor for me. At this point I dont know the name of the company who is going to sponsor me.

    I am not sure How Indian cosulting companies go about H1b visa these days. Could you please suggest what I should do? Is it considerably safe for me to ahead with this process?

    Thanks,

    Nadia.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Legally, H-1 fees needs to be paid by the employer and not you. Secondly, I don’t know of any attorney who acts as mediator to find H-1 sponsoring employer. Seems like this attorney has a side-business going on. Before processing, properly vet the employer, seeing his past record, the client/project he has because there are lot of dirty fishes in the pond.

      1. Jai

        I never seen an attorney help in finding an H-1B sponsor. This is a total fraud. Small Indian consulting companies filing for H-1B visa era is gone. They cannot get the visa approved by USCIS. USCIS asks Purchase Order nowadays for the project sponsor is filing. Even Big 5 are strugling. Only 13 % of visa got approved last year in first instance without RFE.

        Fee for H-1B is listed here,
        www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count

        Before pursue anything with Indian consultancies, go through the cases they filed in the recent years in,
        http://www.flcdatacenter.com/CaseH1B.aspx

        Read the reviews about consultancies in,
        desicrunch.com (Click on the map for a state, first)
        goolti.com

  21. Sandi

    Hello,
    I have a small doubt. I got my bachelors from India, and have 6 years of work experience. I recently got a job, and the company attorney should contact me anytime regarding the H1B procedure. The problem is, I am not able to find my original copies of the certificates. I have applied the university for the duplicate copies, but that will take a month atleast. I do however have a xerox copy (black and white) of my certificates. My question is for education evaluation, will it be fine if I can send them scan of this black and white certificate? Or will I need to wait until i get the duplicate copies from the university?
    tanks,

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      For education evaluation, some agencies want original copies while others can work w/ duplicates or photo-copies. So it depends upon the agency your attorney will pick.

  22. Rajesh

    Hi,
    I have 7 years of experience in IT industry with 4 years Bachelors degree.
    I am planning to apply for h1-b visa and try for a job so that i can tranfer that to company’s name later and go through the company.
    Am i eligible for visa and is my decision worth a try?
    Please suggest.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      An employer always need to apply H-1. You cannot apply by yourself. Here is the quick process:
      1. Find an employer willing to sponsor H-1 for you
      2. Send documents to employer for filing
      3. Employer files H-1 petition and it gets approved
      4. You go for stamping and it gets approved
      5. You enter US and work for H-1 employer

      You are eligible, but ensure you find a good employer as his credibility often determines whether the petition/stamp gets approved or denied.

  23. Bruno

    Hello there,

    I’m currently working for a small company in the US during my OPT (valid until Jan 2012). I know the process to get the H1B take a few months and I wonder if the company can start the application process now (and hopefully get approved) but having the effective starting date when my OPT expires? I also would like to know if it’s really necessary to have the guidance of a immigration lawyer or can the company do the whole process on their own? And what’s the difference between the Regular processing and the Premium processing?

    Thanks a lot for your help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes, that is possible. H-1 start date can be put as at most 6 months in future. So the employer can file a petition w/ start date as Jan 2012.

      Some companies do file the petition by themselves. However, if the petition is not that straightforward (for example it’s a small employer working in consulting business or it’s their first H-1), then they do hire an attorney and take that as a learning process.

      When filed w/ premium processing, USCIS would adjudicate your petition within 15 calendar days. Otherwise it may take months for them to process it. The facility costs an extra $1225.

      1. Bruno

        Ok.

        Can you give some guidance about the dates (April or October). There is a deadline for 2012 applications? I wonder on having a start date on February 2012, is it too late to initiate the process? Whats the average of months to have you H1B approved?

        Thanks a lot.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Petitions against FY-12, need to be received until quota gets exhausted. You can follow the quota updates on USCIS website or here (Kumar posts weekly updates). You need to follow counts closely to see if it would remain open for Apr or Oct.

          As H-1 can be filed for a start date of 6 months in future, your employer can file in Sep for start date of Apr 2012.

  24. rocky

    Hi,

    I am working with my current employer (India) for last four years( from 2007) . My B.Tech course completion was on 2005 , I had backlogs and got degree (after a lot of hard work) only in 2009. Can I apply for H1-B visa.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If you have 4 years of college degree (irrespective of backlogs etc), then you are eligible. You still need to find an employer willing to sponsor your visa for a valid open position.

  25. Sanjay Sachdev

    Hi,
    I did my masters from USA. I had an issue, where i did an intern in the middle, during my graduating semester. There was a problem, where i filed my intern with an employer, and then i got a better opportunity, and i was having issues getting my intern transfered to my new employer. At that time i was planing to come back to India for good after finishing OPT, so i did not bother much, i just droped my Intern Course and continued working there, and accepted pay for about month and half, which was outside any CPT or OPT. And also after i finished my OPT, i was under the impression that i can continue working during the 60 day grace period, after completing OPT. But after working for a week, i came to know, that it is not allowed, though i am still not sure about it. I have come back to India for good, like i had planned, but some where at the back of my mind, i have a thing, that i might want to go back in the future. I will have to file for an H1 from India. What do i do with these 7 weeks of pay that i accepted outside status ? I have payed taxes for 6 weeks of this work outside OPT. Help in this regard would be highly appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Sanjay Sachdev

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Any act done against the law is not the right thing, and you know that now. Anyways, I don’t think it will be a big issue in future, but I can’t say that for sure. Talk to a lawyer before you leave US.

  26. Jai Singh

    I have 8+ years of exp. in IT industry as Software Architect and working in one of top MNC I do have couple of certification but I donot hold any bachelor degree, I just have 2 year certificate course with 10+2. Am i eligible to apply for H1, my company can process my H1 if my eligibility meets. Please let me know if can apply without a degree.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      To be eligible for H-1, one must have equivalent of 4 years US Bachelors. If not, then person must have at least 3 years of relevant work experience for each missing year of education. Looking at your profile, you would need 12 years of work experience to be eligible (I don’t think 2 year certificate course helps in this case).

  27. tharun

    Hi Saurabh,
    i have 2years experience on networking in india,can i do part time Masters(saturday and sunday) and full time professional job in US(monday to friday) during my graduation?? i mean study+work permit.what is the visa type?

    Thanks
    Tharun

  28. Ashwani Gupta

    Hi Saurabh,

    This is Ashwani, I need to file H1 -B on my Btech that I had done in India.

    Now , I am in USA and I am looking someone who can explain me about the procedure.can you please let me know any attorney in USA to whom I can contact or he/she is reasonable.

    Thanks,
    Ashwani

    1. Shiv

      It depends on which area(state) you are in. There are lot of immigration attorneys to contact for filing H1 . Check immigration websites like visajourney immihelp and other websites. I believe there is no free consultation but the lawyers’ websites explain much in brief about the process.

      Good Luck !

  29. tharun

    Hi Saurabh ,
    your doing some much work for this blog and i got lot of info from this.
    i have one cousin in us working for some xxx company can his company sponsor me?what details i should ask him?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      The company can sponsor your H-1, as long as they have a real job (and not a paper job) for you. Some of the questions you should ask them are:
      1. What’s the job you are being hired for
      2. What will be the work location
      3. Salary
      4. Interview process
      5. Do they pay salary when on bench (legally you should get paid all the time while in US, even when on bench)
      6. Do they charge for H-1 filing (legally company should pay for majority of the H-1 fees)
      7. Past H-1 success rate

      As your cousin is already working for them, you can get an honest feedback from him. You should also do background research on the company online to ensure it is a genuine company w/ a genuine job for you.

  30. Alex

    Hi

    I am working with my current employer (India) for last one year and now my employer applying my H1b Visa. Before applying for visa. I need clarity on following point.

    I Have submitted fake working experience (which is Past employment) to my current employer while joining the organization one year back. however rest of my previous employment credential are accurate and fine.

    Now I want to know will US consulate visa officer will do my employment verification when i submit my H1 application.

    Kindly reply me ASAP.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      They can, but they don’t do it all the times. Besides, if you submit false documentation to USCIS or US consulate, they can reject your visa and put that on your file, which could adversely effect any chance of coming to US on any other visa in future.

    2. Daniel

      Hi I have the working with my company for the past 12 yrs and am not a degree holder What’s the eligibility to apply for H1B visa.

  31. Sandra

    Hello to all,

    You all seem very knowledgeable about H1B and filing. My question would be regarding extension. I currently have H1B visa but need to file for an extension.
    Is it possible to file an extension without any help from a lawyer? Where could I find the list of neceesary documents that need to be filed with the extension?
    thanks a million for your help in advance.
    all the best,
    sandra

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      The employer can file the extension by himself as well. Lawyers are strongly recommended in complex scenarios (like when there you are working for a client, or there are vendors b/w your employer and end client). The list of document is same as new H-1 filing (you can find the list in the Archives section of the blog). The list would include:
      – information about your employer (wage reports, contact information, tax returns etc)
      – information about you (resume, experience letters, educational degrees etc)
      – proof that you have been maintaining status (existing 797, payslips, W2s etc)
      – etc

  32. Pavan Kumar

    hi

    I have applied for H1B in May 2009 up to now my status is showing as Initial review and stating that “On October 21, 2009, we received this I290B NOTICE OF APPEAL TO THE COMMISSIONER” May i know how much time will they take for processing my receipt and is there any expiry date for processing a receipt if so what would be the date.

    As per my employer my receipt number was “xxxxxxxxxxxxx” and I am checking the status in the below site https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.do and how can i know that the receipt number given by employer is mine.

    Thanks and Regards

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I have masked your receipt number. One should not share that number openly on public forums.

      Appeals take a while to process. In worst case scenario, they can even take years. You cannot be sure if this number belongs to you. You can either trust your employer, or wait for actual approval notice to see your name on the approved petition.

      This petition was applied 2 years ago. Why do you think it will get approved now? An appeal gets approved, when employer is able to show that USCIS made incorrect decision on the submitted documents. Does your employer still has interest in hiring you and bringing you to US? A better option might be filing a new H-1 through another credible employer (the quota is still wide open).

      1. Pavan Kumar

        hi

        Thank you very much for the reply.I have got an offer from an Indian MNC with the same package what I get from my current employer.I have total six years of experience with my current employer basing on my offer the current employer has given me three options
        1. Premium processing for my H1B and the salary will be $3750 per month for the location Arkansas/Delaware and $ 4250 per month for the location New Jersey
        2. Pay $2000 for cost of H1B and can work for Indian MNC
        3. Pay $2000 for cost of H1B and after the receipt is approved and if I am interested I can work in US and $2000 will be refunded.

        Note: US employer who processed my H1B application and my current employer are different by mutual understand they work together.

        Can you please suggest what can I do.

          1. Pavan Kumar

            Yes I came to know that is illegal but I cannot do anything as my US employer is not demanding my Indian employer is demanding and I am confused what to do any suggestions.

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Can’t the US employer file the H-1 for you, or do they have a non-poaching agreement w/ your current employer?

          3. Pavan Kumar

            I have joined in Aug 2005 with my Indian employer and basing on my performance indian employer has offered an H1B in 2009 for processing with US employer upon my willingness the US employer had filed my H1B.

            I use to get the status of my H1B from my indian employer they use to say US employer is speaking with attroney or with some higer officials and in the month of April/May 2011 my india employer has once again said that they wil get the status update with in one month but once again nothing has been changed.

            So I have thought that nothing can be done with my Visa and started to search a job and got in one Indain MNC.

            If I go to my US Employer it is not required to pay 2000$ but if I go to other company then I need to pay 2000$.

            Thanks and Regrds

          4. Pavan Kumar

            One more query I had is, if I pay 2000$ and may I know what are the documents do I need to get from my employer and give the documents to my indian employer for further H1B processing.

            Can I change the employer at this state.

          5. administrator
            Saurabh

            If the H-1 is filed by the US company, then for all purposes you will be an employee of that US company. The Indian company seems to be trying to fill it’s pockets as you transition to new employer.

            Assuming your H-1 is filed by the US employer, you would need I-129, 797 and all other employer related documents from the US employer to go for stamping. Check out archives section of the blog and search for “document”. There is one article detailing documents required during H-1 stamping.

          6. administrator
            Saurabh

            Once H-1 petition is approved, you can either go for stamping through the US employer and then enter US to work for that US employer (Indian employer not involved in the picture at all). If you want to work for a different employer, then that employer needs to file a separate H-1 petition for you (cap exempt as you would already have a petition from the US employer).

  33. Deepali

    hey, m qstn is, i’ve applied in U.S.waiting for reply.i am in india.what is the process.could you plz explain it to me…..plz…the H1B visa thing and all the yes n no’ssss…

    d

  34. Stephanie H

    Hi:
    I am currently on my OPT status and I just found a job that the owner orally agrees to sponsor my H1B at my own cost.
    Although it’s great to find the job with H1B sponsor, I still have some concerns about the company. This is my first full-time position and I really need your help in terms of what should I do and ask.
    1. It has less than 10 people so there is no HR department. They didn’t even give me an written and signed offer letter when they proposed. Upon my request, they drafted me a written offer letter but there is no signature nor details about benefits, compensation, contract terms period. They say that they will send me to New York at the end of the year and would give me a raise accordingly, but they are paying me very low and I don’t know how long it will last and how to negotiate.
    I am aware that there is

    2. They said that I need to find my own lawyer and pay for the fees myself. My friends have done the similar thing and she said it normally cost $2500 for small company if lawyered up. I saw the breaking components of the fees, which as combined is turned out to be $1570, if the normal rate for a lawyer is between $400 to $800, how much should I negotiate? is $2500 reasonable? or if is it really necessary to be lawyered up?

    Thanks for your advice and comments
    Steff H.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      1. The company needs to file the petition, and w/ it they need to submit an offer letter stating their intent to hire you, along w/ salary. It should be on company letter head (to show it’s authentic) and should have contact information of the signing authority. If it’s a consulting company, then you also need to submit contract/project information. Also, the salary needs to be equal or more than the minimum salary set for that profession in your job location.

      2. First of all, H-1 fees needs to be paid by the employer and not the employee – that’s the rule. If you pay for the fees, then you are breaking the law. The actual fees is similar to what you have mentioned. However, as your employer doesn’t seem to have experience w/ H-1, it’s best to hire a knowledgable lawyer who can prepare your documents correctly.

  35. Ashish

    Hello,
    My H1B was filed on the 7th April 2011 and it was approved on 18th May ( to early!!???..i guess so). well, so how early before my start date ( 1st OCt 2011) can I go for the stamping. U know what even though I have got my H1B approved, i am still worried and I still cannot trust my employer.
    Getting work in the US…sitting in India, and an H1B approved…Still feels to good to be true..

    Kindly advice.
    Regards,
    Ashish

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can go for stamping anytime after you have all the necessary documents required for stamping. This includes but not limited to project/client information, wage reports, tax returns, 797 etc.

      However, you cannot start working on H-1 until 1st Oct, although you can still enter US anytime after 20th Sep.

      1. Ashish

        Hey Saurabh,

        Thank you for the reply. Where do I get an exhaustive list of the Documents that are required to be presented during the H1B visa interview.

  36. MK

    Hi, I need some clarifications & guidance. I got VISA in Nov’08 valid till sep’11. But due to various reasons I came US only in Mar’11. As per my understanding under H1 B category anyone is eligible to stay for 6 yrs (subject to 4th yr renewal is approved). Just want to understand whether duration is counted from date of issue or date of landing in US? In my case, to stay beyond Sep’11, do I need to apply for renewal or extension? Is there any diff between renewal & extension? What is the process? When should I apply for renewal? what r all the docs required?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Only the actual time spent in US is counted towards the 6 year clock. So if you go for vacation for 1 month in b/w, you can claim that time during your last extension.

  37. arun

    Hi,
    I joined a consultant to avoid the 90days thing and now I have a employer who is filling my H1B. Should I show that offer letter from the consultant?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Are you on OPT? Did you get paid while working for the consultant? If not, then it’s as good as being unemployed.

  38. riya

    hi my case is really complicated.
    i am on OPT extension,and i left my consultancy before 2 months ,but i havent change anything in my international office.Now i am getting full-time job who are ready to do my h1 ,but i have doubt that there is going to problem with h1,coz i have shown fake exp. what documents they will ask when apply for my h1.

    please explain me

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I don’t know how much background check your H-1 employer would do for you. If they really go into details of when you worked for the old employer, then you may be in a fix.

      On OPT, a person can stay 90 days w/o job. If your time spent w/o job has been less than 90 days, then you are fine legally. However, you should still inform your DSO about any change in your employment status so that s/he can update the SEVIS record accordingly.

      I would suggest having H-1 filed ASAP, w/ start date as 1st Oct so that you can continue to stay in US legally. Otherwise once your 90 day unemployment period is reached on OPT, you have to leave US.

      1. riya

        hi saurabh,thanks for the reply.
        d
        I am on opt extension,and i applied through consultant,i dont know wheather my payroll should be generated on opt extension,some ppl say yes some says no. if no then i m on legal status,boz i left my consultant due to some uncertain reason,they didnt tell me anything,i havent contact them,i didnt update anything since 2 months since i left my consultant,so i am worried.

        can you guide me in this matter,should i have exp. certificate from m y consultant till the date i havent change their name on sevis, i dont know wheather doing h1 they r checking with sevis or not

        1. tba

          Not knowing exactly your situation, for now I think you are still OK legally. Employer that you worked for has to be an E-Verify company, otherwise, you can’t extend your OPT. So my guess is you were on payroll and you should be during the time you were working. I’m not sure what is your real concern about payroll here??
          Like Saurabh said, you can’t be out of the job for more than 90 days while on OPT. When is your OPT expired? If you have time left, then why don’t you work for new employer with OPT and file for H1B with COS at the same time. This allows you to work immediately and continuously until Oct 1st (assuming H1B approved). You could also qualify for cap-gap but I don’t know what your OPT situation as is now.
          Also, update any changes about your employment and status to your school DSO while you are on OPT – this is a requirement.

        2. administrator
          Saurabh

          I doubt the new employer would check the SEVIS record. What they typically do during background verification is to call the old employer and ask about employment dates. Yes, it would be nice to have experience letter from the old employer about the actual date of employments (letter for any other dates would be a false document).

          For your legal status, refer to what I and tba said above.

          Let me know if you have any other questions.

  39. Jessie

    Hello,

    I am currently in OPT status. And my employer will file H1B petition for me and let it be effective on August. (University job). I am planning to get the H1B approved and then travel internationally. Do you think that it will be OK? I definitely need a visa to go back to US. Do you still I can use the I797 approval notice to apply a H1B visa stamp? I am really confused and don’t know what to do. Thanks.

    1. tba

      Once you get your H1B approved, you can travel internationally. Remember to bring the approval notice and employment verification letter from your employer. You will need to get a visa when returning to the US. Also, there is a few version of I-797, make sure you are actually approved of H1B not just approval of the receipt for petition. (p/s: I am not a immigration lawyer, I’m just someone who went thru this personally 🙂

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      H-1 cannot be effective from August. Earliest start date for H-1 is 1st Oct 2011.

      It is recommended to not travel outside of US, while H1 approval and COS are pending. Once H1 and COS are approved, you can travel outside of US. If you plan to enter US after your OPT has expired or post 1st Oct 2011, then you need to get H-1 stamped. If you plan to enter US prior to your OPT expiry and prior to 1st Oct 2011, then you can enter on F-1 stamp along w/ necessary OPT documentation from your DSO.

  40. Oscar

    Hello,
    I recently received a job offer here in the states. This company will do the sponsorship for the H1-B visa. Right now I’m a student, so I have the F1 visa.

    I understand that if this company applies in April for my H1-B visa, I might be receiving an approval notice before October, but the working permit is valid after October when I get the H1-B visa stamped. Is that correct?

    My other question is: what happens with my F1 (student visa), from the moment I get the notice to the moment I get the H1-B stamp??

    By the way, I’m in the middle of my master studies, so since this company is located in a different state, and I’ll have to move in the middle of my next semester, I’m not sure if I HAVE TO enroll on fall 2011 supposing that I got an H1-B approval prior the semester starts.

    Sorry this note is so large…
    Thanks a million for your response

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes, H-1 employment cannot start prior to Oct.

      From your message, I am gathering that H-1 will be filed prior to completing the course and want to be a full-time worker Oct onwards. For this, you need to have H-1 filed along w/ COS. You need to be a full-time student until your H1 kicks in (so yes, you need to enroll in the school unless the school allows you to take the semester off in b/w and also maintain student status). Once your H1 starts, you need to work full-time.

  41. san

    Hi Kumar,
    M currently working in a company X. My company had processed L1 blanket but unfortunatley I was rejected. Is there another chance for me to apply for H1B this year?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      The employer can file for H-1 when the new quota opens i.e. 1st April 2011. But you cannot start to work on H-1 until 1st Oct 2011 (provided petition and visa stamp are approved by then).

  42. maria

    Hi,
    I have been on a H1 visa since 2009 and the visa is valid through 2012. However, I wish to leave my company and pursue my education now (i.e on F1 visa). Do you know what is the process involved?
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You need to get the I-20, then submit the SEVIS fees and finally apply for COS from H-1 to F-1. You don’t need to get F-1 stamped if the COS is approved. You will have to get F-1 stamped when you leave US next and want to re-enter on F-1.

  43. Archana Nitturi

    Hi, This is Archana Nitturi..
    I recently came to US in December 2010 on H4 visa.. And now I wanted to apply for H1B visa this year..
    Will it be possible for me to apply for H1 Visa so early because it was only 3 months I came here. Are there any time limits to apply H1B visa?
    Somebody please try to clarify..

    Thanks,
    Archana.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      No, there is no such requirement. The company can apply the H-1 in April w/ employment start date as Oct 2011.

  44. Sushant Vasishta

    Hi

    I have IT (SAS) experience of more than 6 years and have worked with companies like SAS R&D India, IBM India and American Express.

    My current organization is not willing to send me to the US but for my personal growth I want to move to US.

    I already know that SAS folks are in demand and are paid well.

    But I’ve no.idea where to start and which consultancy to.contact here in gurgaon.

    I.once went to the US.for a.month on B1 which has already expired.

    Please suggest me something.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It is not required to start w/; however if USCIS raises concerns about your eligibility (technical experience etc) then you would have to furnish a copy of your resume and/or experience letters from past employers to support your candidature.

  45. anu

    hi kumar…
    i did my masters in pharmaceutics. currently im doing as a trainee research assaciate in a company in india. indian companies are not providing good salaries for pharmacy background people even though they are getting lots of benifits. i want to go to us for job. but dont know how to get a sponser… and how to apply for H1 visa… i feel going through consultency is not a good way… can u plz tell me about the sponsers for lifescience people…

  46. Rocio

    Hello,

    I studied Journalism in my country, Chile. I was visiting the United States and I ran into a latin newspaper that would like to have my help. They are a new newspaper and they ask me to find out how they can do it for me. What do they have to do, and what do I have to do to change my status to a H1B?? What are their requirements as a U.S Company to hired a foreign and sponsor me?

    Thank you so much !

    1. DS

      Rocio,
      Look into the H1B1 free-trade agreement visas that are only for citizens from Chile and Singapore. The process is very simple. The company only needs to give you a job offer and fill ETA form 9035 which is the Labor Condition Application that states that they can hire you. You take the certified LCA, the job offer, your degree certificates, your resume and supporting documents to the US Embassy in Chile and pay the regular visa processing fee ($150). That’s it!!
      You can find all the necessary info at http://chile.usembassy.gov/h1b1-visa.html
      I am chilean and I have obtained the H1B1 twice with no problem.
      Good luck!

        1. Tito

          Hi DS and Rocio,

          I have a tricky question: my company (which is an US and Spanish company) wants to do the H1B1 visa for me. I am Chilean but haven’t lived there for years, so the thing is… do you think they will be able to do it? In theory this does not contradict any of the rules detailed at http://chile.usembassy.gov/h1b1-visa.html, but the problem may arise when trying to prove that I don’t want to immigrate indefinitely to the US (which I don’t want to do, by the way). So I guess the question is: how difficult is the interview? What do you get asked? Do you think that my situation would be a problem? Thanks in advance!

  47. Mary

    Hi,
    I am anInstrumentation Engineering graduate. I have 2 years of IT experience in India.I came to US on H4.Company A is ready to file H1 for me.But i dont have my experience/relieving letter from my current company(I am on leave from current company due to some personal issues).Will this be a required document for H1 processing?Also will it be a problem if i file H1 for another company while i am in the payroll of my current company?

    Regards,
    Mary

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Mary, I do not know the specifics, it may not be needed…depends on Attorney how they file it…I do not think it will be a problem. You can only work for one company at a time on H1B…Filing H1B by other company will not impact your status…

    2. Shiv

      Mary, I assume you have 2 yrs IT experience in the current company. And your total experience is only that experience i believe. Then you don’t have to submit experience certificate (since you are on PTO and not resigned). USCIS don’t need experience certificate unless you resigned from that company. But you have to submit your offer letter along with payslips for the current company.

      No, the current company doesn’t need to know that you are filing for H1.

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