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What is H1B Visa? Guide to Apply, Fees, News

America has been at the forefront of innovation for the last few decades and continues to be the leader. To innovate, many of these American companies need talent with specialized skills. Many a time, it can be hard to find talent with these specialized skills within the US. To bridge this talent shortage, the US immigration system provides many temporary work visa options. As part of those non-immigrant temporary work visa options, the most popular visa type for specialty occupation areas is H1B Visa.

Getting a H1B Visa is not easy. Due to very high demand for this visa type, USCIS has been conducting H1B lottery for the last 9 consecutive years. You can check H1B Cap reach Dates History from 2000 to 2022 to get an idea of the demand. In this article, we will review everything that you need to know about H1B Visa, its requirements, how to get it, fees, what is H1B LCA process, steps with USCIS, steps for US visa stamping, H4 dependent visas, latest news and many other common FAQs. We continue to update this article with new updates.

Before we look at the step by step guide to apply for H1B Visa, let us review the basics of H1B Visa like what it means, requirements, fees, lottery process, etc.

What is H1B Visa ?

H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows a foreign national to work in a specialty occupation in the US. The H1B visa program was created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 to hire high skilled foreign workers on a temporary basis by US employers. To work on H1B Visa, the foreign worker must possess specialized knowledge and skills and work in a specialty occupation in the US.

The H1B Visa is also used to hire foreign nationals to perform specialized services that are exceptional in nature related to the US Department of Defense cooperative research and development project. It also is used to recruit someone as a fashion model with extraordinary merit or ability. In fact, previous first lady Melania Trump worked on H1B Visa under the fashion model option.

If a US Company is sponsoring H1B Visa for an individual to work for them in the US, they would take care of all the H1B visa filing fees, documentation, expenses and work with USCIS to get the necessary H1B petition approval. After the H1B petition approval, they will also assist the applicant to get H1B Visa stamping at a US consulate that allows the applicant to enter the US on H1B visa to work for them.

What are H1B Visa Requirements

To be qualified for H1B Visa, the applicant has to meet all the requirements as outlined by Congress in the H1B program. Below are the requirements :

  • The applicant needs to have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited University or College. If the bachelor’s degree is from a foreign country, it must be equivalent to US Degree. Typically a four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent, including a Master’s or Ph.D. will meet this requirement.
  • The applicant needs to have advanced knowledge to be classified as a high skilled worker in the required field for the job.
  • If the applicant works in an area that requires a license or official permission in that state, then they need to have an unrestricted state license or permission to fully practice the specialty occupation. These license requirements are usually for someone working in roles like a physical therapist, architect, surveyor, etc.
  • If the applicant does not have a 4-year degree, then each year of education can be equated with 3 years of specialized training or professional work experience. So, the applicant needs 12 years of specialized work experience, if they need to apply without a bachelor’s degree.

What is H1B Visa Cap, Quota ? Duration ?

H1B Visa program has an annual limit set by the US Congress. The annual limit on how many H1B visas can be issued is called H1B Visa cap. The US Congress has set the H1B Cap to be 85,000 per year. The annual limit is further split by quota as regular quota and Masters quota. Below are the details of the regular vs masters quota.

  • Regular Quota Cap : The regular quota cap is 65,000 visas. It includes all the general applicants with a bachelor’s degree or higher. There is no specific requirement other than meeting general H1B visa requirements as in the above section. One important thing to note is out of this 65,000 count, there is a separate carve out of 6,800 count for Singapore and Chile under the Free Trade Agreement. Anything that is unused from the 6,800 count from the previous year is added up to the regular quota.
  • Advanced Degree or US Master Quota Cap : The advanced degree quota cap is 20,000 visas. To be counted towards the advanced degree quota cap, you need to have a Master’s Degree from an accredited US University.

The quota caps are very important during H1B Lottery situation, where someone with a US Master’s degree has higher chances of getting selected as they are part of both pools during lottery and the order also matters. For more info on quota caps & limits read: Complete guide to H1B Quota Caps – Regular vs Masters

H1B Visa Duration – How many years ? Layoff ?

The initial duration for H1B Visa petition approval is usually given for up to 3 years by USCIS. The actual amount of approval time depends on the underlying H1B Labor Condition Application(LCA) duration. After 3 years, the duration of the H1B can be extended up to another 3 years by filing an extension petition with USCIS. In total, the eligible duration for H1B is 6 years.

You need to leave the US and spend one year outside of the country for the H1B visa clock to reset and go through the H1B quota cap again to be eligible for getting another term of H1B. To stay in the US after 6 years on H1B visa, one of the common options many pursue, during the 6-year term, is to apply for an Employment-Based Green Card and get I-140 approved as part of the green card process before the 6 year term expires. If you get I-140 approved, then you can continue to extend H1B until you get the green card and stay in the country as per AC 21 provisions.

Having H1B Visa valid for 3-year duration does not mean, you can stay in the country even without a job. You need to employed by the H1B Sponsoring company and maintain H1B Visa legal status by getting paid on time, paying taxes, etc. If for some reason, the company that sponsored your H1B does a layoff, then you have 60 days grace period to find another job or leave the country. Also, the company has to take care of all expenses related to your departure, if you need to leave the country.

What is H1B Visa Lottery ? Random Selection Process ?

When USCIS receives more applications than the annual limit of 85,000, they use a random selection process to select the required annual limit of 85,000 petitions. This random selection process is popularly called as H1B Visa Lottery.

As part of the H1B lottery selection process, USCIS first selects 65,000 applications from the entire pool of applications filed, which includes regular and US masters quota applications to meet the regular quota cap. After that, the unselected Masters quota applications are taken from the first step and a second lottery/random selection process is done to select the 20,000 applications to meet the US Masters quota cap.

The order of the lottery gives someone with US Masters an extra probability of selection as they get to be part of the lottery twice. You can read more at What is H1B Visa Lottery, What has USCIS done in past ?

What is H1B Visa Registration Process ?

USCIS in the past required anyone applying for H1B visa petition to submit a full application package on April 1st. They used to take all those packages and use basic details in the petition to run H1B Lottery as described above. But, starting from the year 2020, to reduce the burden for employers and USCIS, they introduced H1B Electronic Registration process.

As part of the electronic registration process, now employers do not need to send the entire H1B package to USCIS, rather they need to complete basic information about the applicant in the USCIS H1B Registration Online System. USCIS would open a registration period every year in March for two to three weeks for employers to register the H1B applicants. After the registration period closes, USCIS would run H1B lottery or random selection on the submitted H1B registrations.

Also, USCIS keeps the unselected registrations until the end of the fiscal year for running another round of lottery as needed. For FY 2021, USCIS conducted second-round lottery using the waitlist pool of registrations. For more details, read Complete guide to H1B Registration Process

H1B Visa Fee – USCIS, Attorney, Stamping

The employer filing for H1B on behalf of the applicant need to pay all the relevant H1B Visa related fees (except visa stamping fee), including attorney fee. Below are the various fees associated and cost of the same.

  • H1B Registration Fee – $10 USD
  • Base filing Fee (I-129 Form): $460 USD
  • ACIWA Fee
    • $750 USD – for employers with 1 to 25 full-time employees
    • $1500 USD – for employers with 26 or more full-time employees
  • Fraud prevention & detection Fee : $500 USD
  • Public Law 114-113 Fee : $4000 USD ( applies to companies with 50 or more and 50% of the employees are on h1B or L1 Visas)
  • (Optional) USCIS Premium Processing Fee : $2,500
  • Immigration Attorney Fee : Ranges from $500 to $3000. If inhouse attorney, no fee.
  • US Visa Stamping Fee at Consulate: $190 USD

Overall, the H1B fee can vary from $1,710 USD to $7,910 USD + Attorney fee + US Visa Stamping fee. For complete info, read H1B Visa Fee – How much? Who pays for What?

How to Apply for H1B Visa – Application Process

To work on H1B Visa in the US, there are multiple steps starting from finding a company that can sponsor you H1B visa to getting H1B visa stamped in the passport to enter US. Below is the step-by-step guide to work in the US on H1B Visa.

Step 1 : Find H1B Sponsoring Company, Get Job

You cannot apply for H1B Visa yourself as an individual. Only a company that has US operations and registered in the US can sponsor you an H1B visa. Also, not all companies in the US sponsor H1B visa due to their policies or sometimes due to lack of resources or awareness. So, the key task to get H1B Visa is to find a company or employer that can sponsor you H1B Visa.

After finding a H1B sponsor, the main thing is to get a job at that company that is of speciality occupation, so that they can file H1B petition on your behalf. The overall process of finding H1B sponsors, getting job can be broken down into few steps as below.

If you already work for a company, as a student or employee overseas, that has sponsored H1B visas in the past, you can ask them to sponsor H1B visa for you to work in the US. You do not need to go through the below steps of finding companies and applying for job, you can go to step 2.

Our first task is to find the H1B Sponsoring Companies.

Find H1B Sponsoring Companies List

The information on which companies have sponsored H1B Visas in the past is available to everyone as part of public disclosure data from the US Dept of Labor and USCIS Data Hub. Websites like  H1BGrader.com takes such data and provides a nice interface to find H1B Sponsoring companies by City, Zip code, or Job title. For detailed instructions, you can read the article How to find H1B Visa Sponsors.

You can find the H1B sponsoring companies using the H1BGrader.com website and create a list of of such companies based on your preference of location and role. Once you know the companies, then your next step is to apply for a job at these companies and get a job.

Applying for Jobs at H1B Sponsors, Get Job

Once you have the list of the potential H1B sponsoring companies, your next goal is to apply for jobs at these companies.

  • If you are already inside the US, it can be a relatively easy process to work with the company do the interviews, and get a job. But, if you are outside of the US, this can be difficult to apply and get a job due to the uncertainties and employers may not be keen to take the extra work to get you into US.
  • F1 Student: If you are a student already in US and doing a co-op or internship at a company, you should initiate the H1B process at the company. If you realize that the current company does not offer that option, time to make a decision and switch soon.
  • Your primary goal is to get as many interviews and clear them to go to the offer letter stage.
  • If you know the company you are interviewing with has done H1B sponsorships in past, you do not have to explicitly ask for it. But, if you are interviewing with a company that you are not sure about, if they have done H1B sponsorship in the past, you can ask about the requirement for H1B Sponsorship for you before you get hired, so that they know from the beginning your needs.

Salary Negotiations, Verifying H1B Profile

Once you are at offer letter stage, you should be getting close to a decision on what company you should be going for. This is your time to review the company profile, their H1B approvals, and green card data.

  • Try to negotiate the best offer you can get at a company. It is all pretty transparent. You can see the details of a job on how much it pays for base salary in H1BGrader.com Salaries or other websites like Glassdoor.com.
  • You should also verify the companies’ credentials like how many H1B filings were approved, denied at least from LCA perspective and USCIS side. You can use H1BGrader website to view the profile of the company to evaluate, how many were approved, how many were denied in the past. Some websites like myvisajobs.com ask you to pay you to see the details, but you should not pay to see this information. It is free as per public disclosure and we have websites like H1BGrader.com to help you avoid paying for such sites.
  • You should also look at the Green Card data related to the company. You can check H1BGrader.com Green Card section to search for the company name and view their past data. This is important for you in the long run if you plan to settle down in the US.
  • You should also try and talk to few people who are part of a company that you plan to join so that you get idea on the reality.
  • You can also read  What to Ask H1B employer  before offer letter and  How to Negotiate  Salary & benefits in consulting for more info.
  • If you are interviewing with multiple companies, try to negotiate and ask them to come up with final offer.

Decision Time – Finalize your H1B Sponsors, Submit Info.

Once you know the final offer for the job you are seeking, compare with other offers at hand, the H1B approval success rate, Green Card profile of these companies, and then make a decision. You can ask them about the future, if they would sponsor Green Card or if they have any specific policies in place on the same. This is important if you plan to settle down in the US.

Once everything is clear, make a decision on the company and get the offer letter from them. Now is the time to secure documents for the next steps of H1B Visa filing.

Step 2 : Employer Submits H1B Registration

Unless, the H1B sponsoring employer is a non-profit research entity or University, every H1B applicant need to go through the H1B Cap quota as we discussed before. Every year, USCIS opens up the H1B season quota for next fiscal year during March of current year.

USCIS fiscal year starts from October 1st of every year. For anyone to start working from October 1st of that year, USCIS opens up the H1B cap quota 6 months before in around mid March time frame. Employers need to submit the H1B applicant’s details with USCIS during this window in March of that year. If you miss the boat in March, you need to wait until next year March to apply for H1B visa petition.

As discussed in the above sections on the USCIS H1B registration process, employers need to submit the H1B Applicant’s details in the Online H1B Registration System. Your employer only needs to submit the below details in the H1B Registration System. So, you should share the below details with the company that is planning to file your H1B.

  • Legal Name (First, Middle and Last name)
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Passport Number

If the H1B applicant does not have a passport, the employer can still submit the registration without the passport number. The initial H1B registration lottery results are usually announced by end of March and employers can file H1B petition for the selected applicants starting from April 1st.

H1B Petition Filing Documents Checklist

Many employers ask for all the documentation to be prepared ahead of time. They may even connect you to the attorney that the company works with. In such cases, you can send all your documents related to education. Some may ask you to share the documents after you get selected in the H1B registration. In either case, below are the documents to be shared with employer

No need to share Originals with Employer – Scanned Copies are sufficient

  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of all Educational Certificates – Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree ( if applicable)
  • Copy of Education Evaluation Certificate ( if the degree is from a foreign country)
  • Copy of Transcripts, if the degree is from US University
  • Copy of latest resume.
  • Copy of offer letter
  • Copy of signed employment agreement
  • Work experience letters as applicable
  • Copy of I-94, if you live in the US to show status
  • Copy of Tax forms, if you live in the US and paid taxes
  • Copy of SSN, if lived in the US
  • Copy of US Visa, if you had any US visa in the past.
  • Copy of OPT Card, if you worked in the US on F1 visa
  • Copy of latest I-20 from DSO, if you are on F1 visa and applying for H1B
  • Copy of payslips, if working in the US on OPT
  • Copy of I-983 Training plan, if on STEM OPT

For complete details, read H1B Visa filing Document Checklist, What NOT to give. After you send the above list of documents, your work as the applicant is technically done. It is now the employer and their attorney to carry out the next steps of filing a petition with USCIS and LCA with DOL.

Step 3 : Employer files H1B Labor Condition Application(LCA)

If a US Employer would like to sponsor H1B visa, they need to have an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) from US Department of Labor(DOL) for the H1B position. Employers are mandated to file LCA with US DOL as it is a legal requirement as per INA. The LCA basically has information about the H1B Job title, Location, Wage information, SOC Code, duration, and other info.

The requirement for LCA is to make sure the foreign workers on H1B visa have the same working conditions and wages as the US workers in a similar role. Employers used to file H1B LCA using iCERT system in the past, but now US DOL has migrated to Foreign Labor Application Gateway(FLAG) system. Now, Employers file H1B LCA online using FLAG System. The processing time for H1B LCA is 7 days. You need to get an approved H1B LCA to file H1B petition with USCIS. For more info, read H1B LCA Guide – What is it? Why File it? Minimum Wage?

LCA is tied to a H1B job position and not to a specific individual. So, employers can file the H1B LCA even before the H1B Registration process as well. It is totally up to them. Depending on the employer and their process, this step can happen before or after. But, logically speaking, many file it after getting selected in H1B registration as it avoids them the extra effort to withdraw the same.

Step 4 : Employer files H1B Petition with USCIS using Form I-129

An employer can file H1B petition for an applicant with USCIS only after they get selected in H1B Registration Lottery process and have an approved LCA. Assuming the applicant was picked in H1B lottery and got LCA approved, then employer would file the petition with USCIS. The Employer has 90 days from the date of H1B selection to file the petition with USCIS. Usually it is 90 days from April 1st, which comes to June 30th.

As part of the H1B petition filing process with USCIS, the employer would submit the documents as a package for the applicant at the filing location listed on the registration selection notice.

  • Completed Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker
  • Approved H1B LCA for the job offered
  • H1B Registration Selection Notice related to the applicant
  • H1B filing fee ( as listed in the above section)
  • Applicant education & experience documents to qualify for H1B visa
    • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree certificate
    • Education Evaluation documents ( if the degree from non-US University)
    • License Certificates( if any)
    • Experience Certificates (if any)
  • Employment agreement
  • (optional) I-94 copies (if in the US)
  • Applicant Resume
  • Additional supporting documentation for the H1B petition.

Step 5 : USCIS Processing of H1B Petition, Decision

After the H1B Petition is received by USCIS, they would issue a receipt notice indicating the receipt of the application package and fees. The receipt notice would be sent in physical mail to the attorney or the company. It has a H1B Case Receipt Number that is 13 digits in length and starts with EAC, WAC, LIN or SRC depending on where it is processed. You can ask your employer to share the copy of your receipt notice to track the status of your H1B petition. Read How to check the status of H1B Petition on the USCIS website

If your H1B petition was filed in Premium Processing, you will get the decision in 15 days, if not it can take time. Sometimes, USCIS will suspend premium processing as well for the first few months. So, this all depends. You need to check with your employer on how it was filed like Premium or regular. You can read H1B Premium Vs Regular Processing time

During the adjudication process of you H1B petition, you may see different statuses. Check USCIS H1B Online Statuses, meaning for details on the same. If everything goes well and your petition is approved, your employer would get copy of the H1B Approval Notice and you can see the status as approved online as well.

Depending on how the H1B petition was filed like Consular Processing or Chang of Status, you may need to get visa stamping done to start working from October 1st. If your H1B petition was filed as Change of Status(COS) and it was approved with I-94, then you do not need to travel out of the country. You can start to work from October 1st without leaving the country.

Below is a sample H1B Petition Approval Notice after USCIS approves the submitted H1B petition.

Sample H1B Visa Petition Approval Notice by USCIS

Sample H1B Approval Notice -H1B 2021 - Regular Quota - Page 1
Sample H1B Approval Notice

If your H1B was filed as Consular Processing, because you are currently outside of US or you wanted flexibility, then you need to get US visa stamping done in your passport at a US consulate and enter US on H1B visa to work in the US. The above sample H1B approval notice was filed as Consular Processing. Let’s look at that step now.

Step 6 : H1B Visa Stamping at US Consulate

If you are outside of the US, you need to apply for US Visa at a US Consulate or a US Embassy and get H1B Visa stamping in your passport to enter US and work on H1B visa. The process to apply for H1B Stamping is as below.

  1. Complete DS-160 form, Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form
  2. Pay US Visa Fee of $190 USD ( also called MRV fee) online or at a bank ( depending on the country)
  3. Schedule US Visa Appointments for Biometrics, Interview at CGI Federal website
  4. Give Biometrics at Visa Application Center (VAC) on the appointment date
  5. Attend H1B Visa Interview at Consulate or Embassy on the appointment date. Check H1B Visa Documents Checklist for the list of documents you need to carry for the interview.
  6. Check US Visa Stamping Status online
  7. Collect passport with H1B Visa Stamp glued in it ( assuming visa was approved)

If visa stamping is successful, you can enter the US on H1B Visa. However, if you get 221(g) Administrative Processing, you will need to submit relevant documents or what is needed to overcome that and get approval. Below is a sample H1B Visa that is stamped in passport, if your visa interview is successful and the Consular officer approves your visa.

Sample H1B Visa Stamped in Passport

H1B US Visa Sample with Annotation of Employer Name and Receipt Number
Sample H1B Visa Stamped in Passport

Step 7 : Enter the US on H1B Visa, Work

Once you have your H1B stamped in passport, you are eligible to travel to the US to work on the same. You can only enter the US up to 10 days before the start date on your H1B petition. Let’s say your start date on the H1B petition is October 1st, then you can enter only after Sep 20th into the US. Read complete details at When can you enter the US on H1B visa, When can you get Visa stamp

The H1B Visa in passport only gives you permission to arrive at US Port of Entry(PoE) and go through entry procedures. It is up to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to interview you and let you into the country. You need to carry all relevant documents supporting your H1B job and details of your employer, etc. Most of the time, there are no issues, if everything was good with your H1B filing and your company is genuine.

If the CBP Officer allows you to enter US, they will put a stamp on your passport page and add admit until date with H1B on it and the end date on the H1B petition. Also, the same end date would be reflected in the online electronic I-94 (arrival/departure record) that is issued for you. This online validity of I-94 with H1B status in it gives you the authorization to work in US on H1B Visa.

After you arrive in the US and report to your employer, they will onboard you. As part of they would fill out the I-9 Form and also give you a letter for you to apply for Social Security Number(SSN), if you do not have SSN. Once you get SSN, you are all set to be paid on H1B.

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  1. Hi,
    I’m on STEM OPT currently and it expires in February 2022, I was just selected in the H1-B lottery and preparing for my application now. Should I file it via premium processing? Or normal processing will be fine? What will happen if my opt expires and I still hasn’t gotten the approval for my H1-B yet?

  2. Hi Kumar,

    My OPT just started in mid-February 2020 and it expires in mid-February 2021. Should my employer be sponsoring me this year and have my paperwork submitted by this April 1, 2020 or will I have to wait for next year to have my papers processed? Also, what happens if I miss the deadline date for this year?

    • Jane,
      Yes, they should process it this year. If you miss, then you will be in F1 grace period next year, if you have no STEM OPT, and will not get cap gap extension to continue working as your OPT will be expired.. Talk to your DSO and your employer on this….also, you cannot work after mid feb from next year…

  3. Hi Kumar,

    I know that starting 2020 the policy has been changed, and for that “up to 6 months before the actual start date,” if my start date is 10/1/2020, will I be able to enter into the lottery process this year in March or April?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Ivy,
      The process only changed for lottery, nothing other than that. Yes, that’s same. If you plan to work from October, you need to have registrations submitted from March 1st to March 20th. Check out home page for updates.

      • Hi Kumar,
        I am working on H4EAD and willing to apply for H1 next year. During my first year of EAD in 2018, I worked 4 months part time, 1.5 months full time on other, and 2 weeks again part time for the first employer, after that it’s full time with 3rd employer till now. Do I need to show those part-time and 2nd employer too to file H1B? Or I can skip them?

  4. Hello!

    I’m on opt and it expires on 2/14. I have found a company who’s willing to help me out with H1 process. If I submit my h1 application while I’m on grace period, would I be okay to work and get paid until 9/30? Thank you!

    • Jiwon,
      No, you will not be eligible to work as you will NOT get cap gap extension like others…I would suggest you discuss with attorney on this to be sure.

    • My actual wage is lower than the H1B requirements. However my employers claim that they will bump it up to the prevailing wage during the time of the application. Is this possible? Or should my wage satisfy the requirements prior to filing my petition?

  5. Hi, I got H1B visa in 2006 from company where I was working that time. I had not travelled on H1B any time on that visa and this visa got expired on 2009 unused. I left this company also in 2010 from whom I got this visa.
    I wanted to check, will this visa still use for job in USA by transferring to some other company and exempt from cap of current year. If yes what I need to do? Please reply

    • Dear Ratna,
      It’s my understanding that your case falls under the Remainder Time clause listed on the USCIS’s website, which states that any unused time (of a total of 6 yrs allowed on H-1B) can be used later. And this is cap exempt in the year you’d like to work in the USA and an employer is willing to transfer your VISA from the previous employer that you worked at in 2006.


      • Hi I’m looking to see what info I need with my Hb1 visa. I am currently working for the Marriott hotel and my employer are willing to file my hb1 visa. I don’t know where is the time I need to start file my visa. And also my J1 visa will be expire in June this year. Please help

          • Hi. Good day.

            I need clarification pls. Apart from my employer filing the H1B petition, do I need to do the registration on my own? For instance, going to the embassy or USCIS website to do the initial registration.

  6. Hey!

    I’m currently on my OPT working for a company [non-profit] that is looking to keep me, but my visa ends in July 2019. I am a tad confused on the H1-B process and a lot of websites end up contradicting each other.

    When do I need to send in all of the paper work?

    • If you work for a non-profit research, Education Institution or University, then you are cap exempt, then you can apply anytime and you are not subject to normal H1B cap. More details on USCIS Website ( Look for “(13) Cap Exemptions Pursuant to ” on the page ) If your non-profit does not fall under cap exempt, then you can only apply in April Next year.

  7. Hi Saurabh,
    It is my understanding that the H-1B visa filing is handled by the employer. So, is there any requirement that I have to physically be in the US before the April 1st deadline when the employer files the H-1B visa petition? I have to leave the country for a short time, and won’t be in the US until a few days later.


    • No, you do not have to be in US for someone to file H1B visa. Many companies sponsor H1Bs for candidates, who have never visited USA.

  8. Hi good day i have a question. I have employer now in USA they employed me as cashier but in the contract it stated there that i will be the one to shoulder the visa and work permit. Only plane ticket and accommodation the employer will provide and now they said i have to process through immigration aid. And the immigration aid ask for insurance and application fee plus now the immigration aid told me that the consular requiring me 7553usd atleast as proof that i can support myself in USA until my salary come. Now my question is, is it really the process in h1b visa?

  9. Thank you for the great article and the Q&A section.
    I got offered for the summer internship in 2019. If my employer is willing to file an H1B, can they only apply in April 2020? If my OPT ends in August 2020, do I still get to stay in the US and wait for an H1B decision?
    Thank you in advance for your time.

  10. Thank you for valuable information.

    I want to know that can i apply anytime for H1B after getting any job in USA?I am in final semester of my masters , studying in california

  11. Hi,

    I want to apply for 2019 H1 B green card visa. Can you please tell me the month & date for applying the VISA of FY 2019.

    A quick response would be highly appreciated.


  12. Your Comment *hi saurab,
    I’m an MBA from India. all I need to know is, does an MBA meet the h1b specialty occupation category??

    • It depends. In general for H1B, you need a bachelor’s or higher degree and the work has to be specialist. Having an MBA does not automatically make you eligible for H1B, it depends on the job you are applied for…You can read at USCIS.gov rules for H1B

  13. Hi Experts
    I’m planning to travel to the US (Houston) as a tourist and afterward i look for a job in order to get H1B visa .
    Is finding a H1B sponsor in oil and gas industry and then converting the visitor visa to H1B possible and probable?

    Thank you in advance

  14. hello i have C1D visa which is valid till 2020.is there . is there any procedure where i can get H1 D for work in u.s.a on land based job….

  15. Hi, Saurabh,
    I has just got a job by my OPT, they said that they can sponsor H1B for me, but they haven’t do that before. They don’t know how to do that and what are the requirements for me and the company (this is a non-profit organization). Can you tell me a detail about these requirements? (I didn’t see my organization in our database tool).
    Btw, I gonna apply for FY 2018 but my OPT will over on FEB 2018, is it too late to apply now?
    Thanks so much Saurabh

    • Ethan,

      It is too late to apply for FY-18. You can apply in FY-19 next year but your OPT would be over by April 2018. You will be in the 60 day grace period, which grants you cap-gap to stay inside US but no work authorization.

      BTW, your employer is a non-profit organization. You should explore the option of cap-exempt H-1 as that can be applied anytime and has no quota. It would better for the employer to hire an immigration attorney who can review the company profile to confirm that cap-exempt petition can be applied and processed.

  16. Hi Expert,

    If i would like to apply a job in US this year end/ early 2018, when should I file my H1B?

    Is there any chance to file H1B other than the cap date 1st Apr 2018?

    What is the duration that the H1B process to grant a working visa for candidate?

    Appreciate the advice!

  17. Hello, Awesome article, I have an important question!
    How many companies can apply for me? Is there any limit or it should be only one?
    I heard that 6 companies can apply for one person is that true? If yes, Will it increase my chances?
    Also, about attorney, who should hire attorney and who will be taken care of attorney’s duty?

  18. Hi Saurabh,
    Im planning to attend my first H1B interview in Nov-210 ( Ihave approved petition).
    How ever a 9 years ago i got rejected for F1 twice. will this have any impact on my current H1 B interview. If VO asks what was the reason for F1 rejection,what shall be my answer?. appreciate your valuable comments…


  19. I’m planning to apply for H1B in 2017. Will I be rejected under this case “applicant does not meet the h1b specialty occupation category” if i have only one year of experience in IT field(ORACLE) and a bachelor’s degree?

  20. I will be graduating in May 2017 from a US university. Assuming I get a job with a US company, I will be on OPT and earliest my employer can file for my H1B will be April 2018. Am I right in this understanding?

    Is it possible that my prospective employer confirms my employment offer before I graduate (say in Feb 2017 or so) and thus able to file for my H1B in April 2017 even before I graduate?

    • Shankar Velli,

      An employer can file H-1 for you in non-Advanced degree cap in April 2017. You won’t qualify for 20K quota but for the general 65K quota.

      An employer can file H-1 for you in Advanced degree cap as early as April 2018.

  21. Hi Saurabh/Kumar,

    My last year H1 process went through a big disappointment like this:
    April 13 th 2015 – Received case
    August 21st 2015 – RFE raised
    November 16th 2015 – RFE received
    March 3rd 2016 – Denied

    1) My question is, will there be any consideration this year as my case was already picked last year?

    2) If I have to go through the process normally as fresh candidate with other sponsor, will there be any influence of my last year denial on this year’s application?


      1. No impact
      2. No impact as long as denial wasn’t due to submission of false information/documents related to you.

    • Hi Saurabh/Kumar/WEEJAIII,
      I am looking to go for H1 B for my wife in FY 2017, I just want to check if any consultant files my H1 b and later they are not able to clear RFE, does USCIS return back any bucks? if not, would that include 4k also(if applicable as per new rule)

  22. Hi Saurabh,

    I am new to this forum and thanks for clarifying most of our associate queries. I have come across one of the consultancy through linkedin and they are charging $1000k for documentation. They will arrange interviews in US and i will have to take phone calls from india. if selected then employer will file for H1B. I am not sure whether it is genuine or fake consultancy because there are many such consultancy comming up. Need your expert advise on this! how to find whether consultancy is genuine or fake.

    Consultant is asking for money first and then he told he will arrange interviews.Please do provide your advise. Anybody in this forum can help me on this.

    • Same is the case with me.

      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?

    • Maggy/Shreya,

      Here are the players in this – this consulting company/agency (say A), the actual H-1B sponsor (say B) and the end-client (say C).

      A takes initial money from you to introduce to B. When it comes to actual filing, B will ask for more money. B may or may not have contact w/ C and this could cause the petition to get approved or denied.

      If you don’t get selected in lottery, USCIS will return the entire money to B. However, you will have to run from pillar to post asking for refund from A and B. They may become untraceable or put blame on each other.

      This is a typical scenario and may or may not happen in your case. However, proceed with caution and ask them about all the financial arrangement. As always, paying for H-1B is illegal and it’s employer’s (B) duty.

      • Thanks Saurabh for your quick response. I was also refering to Wireclass consultancy. If Visa is not picked in lottery then consultancy will not refund any money that is the terms and condition as per wireclass policy. How can we make sure whether they have filed for H1B or not? Will there be any receipt number provided or just have to believe with their words?

        • Maggy,

          Not necessarily applicable to this company, but there are companies who collect money and then not file the petition at all. Easy money.

          There is no way to be certain that they have applied for your H-1 petition. If you are not selected in lottery, USCIS will send a rejection letter while refunding the fees, which will contain your name (and hence the proof of applying for H-1). However, it is up to employer whether to share it w/ you or not.

  23. One of consultant is filing H1B visa for me this year. He has offered fixed salary of 80k $ per year. This will be valid for one year. Is this salary good enough for same life style I live in India. Just to compare I get around 22 lac/annum in India.

    • Abhishek,

      It depends upon your location. In one of the expensive places like New York or SF Bay Area, this may be on the lower side. But it may be ok in one of less expensive places where state income tax is also low.

      Additionally, if you have a family then it further reduce your savings.

  24. Hi Experts,
    My H1 – 2016 was rejected in Dec due to “applicant does not meet the h1b specialty occupation category”. My company is willing to file my H1 – 2017 again.
    1)Will previous rejection have an influence on the decision this year?
    2)What does the reject reason “applicant does not meet the h1b specialty occupation category” actually mean? I am BE mechanical with 10 yrs of IT experience and my application was filed for the role of LEAD. Many of my frds who are also BE mech got their visa approved. It beats me why mine was rejected.


    • Raj,

      H-1B was denied due to your profile/education/experience. Unless you address those issues, future petitions may meet the same outcome.

      You need to show how your work experience makes you qualified for the offered position. This would include detailed experience letters, projects you worked upon, references or testimonies from clients/managers, trainings etc.

      I assume USCIS would have issued RFE for this. What was employer’s response to it?

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Yes there was an RFE for my petition and my company had responded. They had asked for all my education certificates and got an EE done. But I am not sure where they goofed up as they do not share the RFE responses with us.
        I have recently finished my MTech in Software Systems and hopefully it should help with my application this time if selected in lottery.


  25. Hi Saurabh,

    Quick question

    Is it possible/ ok for an H1B aspirant to proceed with two employers who would individually file two different applications simultaneously?
    In other words can I apply for an H1B with two different employers at the same time? Or USCIS has a mechanism to reject one of the applications if they find duplication.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Got some information here


      However, it says that if one does file twp applications with different employers, both “may” get an RFE to explain (in case both are selected in the lottery).

      Any pointers please?

  26. Hello – need advice…
    My current h1b application is in RFE status since August 21st…

    a. Can I apply for 2017 H1? If yes, what happens to the 2016 H1?
    b. Will 2017 H1 application be still counted under the quota OR quota exempt? (Since my application was already selected in 2016H1 quota OR gets denied)

    • Kush,

      1. Yes. 2016 application continues to be processed
      2. I assume 2017 petition will be filed only if 2016 petition is still pending. So it will be subject to cap as it would have to be filed that way. If 2016 petition gets approved, you can either withdraw 2017 petition (loss of money if it had made through the lottery) or let it get processed and approved.

        • Hello Saurabh – Appreciate your info! Quick Qn

          a) As my case was been selected in the lottery of H1 2016. Would my 2017 H1 case still be counted with the cap/quota?
          b) If H1 lottery is counted in 2016 & the case gets rejected. Can I file a new case without waiting for the annual H1b start date of April?

          • Kush,

            1. If 2016’s petition gets approved, then any future petitions can be filed as cap-exempt

            2. If 2016’s petition gets denied, then you have to go through the cap again i.e. subject to April 1 filing date

  27. Hi Saurabh/Kumar,

    I got H1b stamped for myself and H4 stamped for my wife successfully in JAN 2016. . I will be travelling to USA shortly with my wife. We are planning to have baby this year. I also intend to file H1b for my wife this year in march 2016.

    Provided my wife gets selected in H1b lottery and gets COS from H4 to H1, this year by OCT 2016 , my questions are:-

    1. What will happen if my wife gets pregnant and cant work starting OCT 1st 2016?
    2. Should my wife again switch back to h4 from H1b?
    3. What is my best option? Should I wait for 2017?


    • Babu,
      There is a no magic list of documents for RFE-free processing. There is a list of required documents (passport, LCA, I-129, fees, education evaluation certificate) and there is a list of recommended documents which vary from case to case. This could include client/project details including MSA, SOW, client letter; employer documents like tax returns, other employees’ W-2 etc.

      Your attorney will have to review the case and gather the documents.

      • Thanks Saurabh, One more thing plz – –How we will know, whether my employer submitted my application / file to US consulate???

        • Babu,
          Once USCIS receives the petition and it makes through the lottery, they would issue 797C form. It will have your name and receipt number.

          If you don’t make through the lottery, then USCIS issues a lottery rejection letter. I am not 100% sure if it has applicant’s name or not.

          • Hi Saurabh,
            Thanks for the info. and one more thing- As we’re aware already H1B fee increased and its affected from this year. Now my question is – Is it applications pick up count also increased to 120,000 from 65000 in lottery???
            Also whats the last date to submit all the documents to USCIS??

          • Babu,

            Cap count is not increasing. It is still the same 65K + 20K

            The documents should reach USCIS before the cap is reached. There is 100% chance that it will be reached on the very first day. Historically they have accepted petitions for 5 days even if the cap is reached on first day (USCIS will confirm/deny the same for this year sometime in March). Your employer should plan to make it reach on April 1.

        • Hi Saurabh,
          Please consider this doubt and waiting for your response-
          Ex:- Completed PG in 2009 and entered into IT industry 2011.
          My question – Is there any problem to apply H1B visa? if we have gab in between 1 or 2 yrs education and Job…

          As am aware, I don’t think its an issue. But need to double check with you.


          • babu,

            Break in education doesn’t disqualify you from H-1. You should have at least 16 years of education including 4 years of US Bachelor’s equivalent.

          • Thanks Saurabh. I have 18 years of education…
            I am so happy and its really great place to clarifying all my queries…

            Thank you once again!!

          • Hi Saurabh,
            Just quick clarification – I have 4.6 yrs of IT Exp. and 10+2+3+3=18 yrs of education..Then I am eligible to apply H1B happily, rite??

  28. Hi Experts / advisers ,

    i am panning to apply H1B visa this time below are my queries can some one please help me to understand and plan for better . Thank you very much in advance for all your help.

    1. Do we required any duplicate transcript of individual mark sheets from JNTU. ( I am currently staying in Europe having all original mark sheets with me)
    2. there was any link that gives good list of consultancy/ Sponsors who are willing to file H1B visa for who are living outside of US.

    3. If i found sponsor and lucky to pick the my case in lottery do i need to attend the visa interview in US consulate in India or Europe where i currently staying .

    Thank you all,

    • Reddy,
      1. You can submit copies of the originals you have. You don’t need to get duplicates issued from the college
      2. Don’t know any company to suggest
      3. You will have to check w/ US embassy in EU if you can attend there as these rules are specific to local embassies. If they say no, then you need to appear in India.


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