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H1B Visa Documents Checklist for Lottery, USCIS Petition? What NOT to give?

Applying for an H1B visa to work in the US could be a very lengthy process. Sending all the correct set of documents to your employer is very important. But, there are many employers, especially IT body shop kind of companies, that can ask you for stuff you to lock them with you. Also, if you are an F1 student on OPT applying for H1B, you will also require an additional set of documents from the school.

The documents needed for H1B Registration Process, which includes H1B Lottery, has even fewer document requirements. In this article, we will cover the list of documents needed for filing an H1B Visa petition with USCIS, including H1B registration and high-level 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 from Lottery to Stamping

H1B Visa Filing – Registration vs. Actual Petition Filing

USCIS changed its H1B Visa filing process starting from the Fiscal Year(FY) 2021 season. In the new process, they introduced the H1B Registration Process, where 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.

If more than 85,000 H1B registrations are submitted in the online system, then 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 Submission

Employers need very basic information regarding the employee or applicant in order to submit the H1B registration in the online tool. Below is the information required to be filled out online. All you need to submit is Passport details( 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 or Travel Document Number

So, technically, there is not much personal info or documents that need to be given for H1B registration process. Below are the documents you can submit

  • Copy of your Passport or Travel Document
  • Copy of Degree Certificate or Transcripts ( to identify regular or masters cap)

Now, let’s look at the second step after selection in registration.

H1B Visa Petition Filing Documents Checklist for USCIS

If an applicant is selected in the H1B registration process, then the corresponding applicant’s employer can file H1B Petition with USCIS. To submit H1B petition or application with USCIS, the H1B applicant needs to submit the below documents to the employer for preparing the petition and submitting the same to USCIS:

H1B Cap subject Petition Filing Documents Checklist

Below is the full list of documents that you need to submit to the employer, if you were selected in the H1B lottery to file a new H1B cap-subject petition with USCIS.

  • Copy of all educational certificates.
    • 10th Grade Certificates, 12th Grade Certificates
    • Bachelor’s Degree Certificate (Marks sheets as needed)
    • (if you have done Master’s) Master’s Degree Certificate.
    • (if you have done PhD) PhD relevant
    • Employers may do an education evaluation if you do not have a US Degree,
  • Copy of Passport – all pages
  • If your degree is from a US University, Transcripts and Degree award certificate.
  • If your degree was from a US University, the copy of your I-20
  • If you are currently living in US, copy of I-94 ( electronic or physical copy)
  • Your latest Resume.
  • If you have lived in the US and paid taxes, copy of previous W2 tax forms.
  • If you have lived in the US, copy of your driving license or state ID
  • If you have lived in the US and have an SSN, a copy of your Social Security Card.
  • If you have done an education evaluation, a copy of the education evaluations too.
  • Work experience certificates (if any )
  • If you have any evaluation reports from work, copy of them too.

If you are an F1 Student working in the 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.

H1B Transfer Additional Documents Checklist

If the applicant is applying for H1B Transfer the below additional documents would need to submitted, in addition to the above listed documents under new H1B petition checklist.

  • Your most recent H1B approval, copy of previous H1B approval notices (I-797 form).
  • If you are transferring H1B, copy of recent 3 months pay stubs from your previous employer

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, like your actual passport, and all other originals of your education certificates.

You should NEVER give any of your original documents such as your degree certificates, mark sheets, passport, or any other original documents to anyone.  You only need to give scan copies of the same.

You will need to carry the originals only when you go for H1B visa stamping, but not for applying H1B Visa petition with USCIS.

USCIS will never 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 Petition really cost?

The H1B fee varies by the size of the company. As of FY 2025 season, it can range anywhere from  $2225 USD to $7595 USD + the Attorney fee( if any).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 an 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 are a new H1B seeker or an existing H1B employee, it is important for you to understand the rights of an H1B worker. The US Department of Labor has put up a nice assistant for you to give guidance on various aspects like Immigration fees, bench pay,  wages, etc. Read H1B Holder Rights Assistant by the US Dept of Labor.

What has been your experience? What is the checklist?


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  1. Hi,,,, Incase I win H1-B visa lottery,,, & I don’t have the ASCPi or AMT accreditation, what next…. Can I still petition?

  2. Hi,

    I have masters from US, and my h1 got picked in this years lottery. currently, I am on day 1 CPT masters program. What do you recommend, should I go for counselor processing or change of status will work.


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