If you plan to work in the US on H1B Visa, after you go through the H1B registration Lottery, you need to file Labor Condition Application(LCA) with the US Department of Labor. An approved LCA is one of the first steps towards getting your H1B work visa in the US.
LCA is critical for making sure you are paid fairly as a foreign worker and not taken advantage by US employers. In this article, we will cover all aspects of H1B LCA, including processing times and many other common questions around LCAs.
What is an H1B LCA ?
LCA stands for Labor Condition Application. LCA is a mandatory document that the H1B Sponsor / Employer needs to file with the US Department of Labor(DOL) before they file the H1B petition with USCIS for any non-immigrant worker. This is as per Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to meet the wage and working conditions requirements. As the LCA is filed to meet the H1B program requirements, it is called commonly “H1B LCA”.
To file an H1B LCA, the H1B Sponsor would need to file ETA Form 9035 / 9035E electronically with US DOL using their Online system called “Foreign Labor Certification Gateway (FLAG)”. Also, the same LCA form ETA 9035E is used by employers sponsoring other visa types as well such as “H1-B1 “, which is used by Chile & Singapore nationals and for “E-3” used by Australians
What does the H1B LCA contain ?
An H1B Labor Condition Application (LCA) form has all the key information regarding the offered job, wage details, location, etc. that is offered to the foreign worker. It has all the below details :
- The job title of position offered
- Standard Occupation Classification Code, called as SOC Code
- Duration of the job position offered ( upto 3 years )
- If the position offered is either full time or not.
- Total number of job positions the LCA is applied for ( can be one or any number)
- Rate of Pay / Salary offered for the position
- Location of the job position called as “Place of Employment”
- Is it new or continuing employment
- Prevailing Wage for the same position in that area.
- Employer’s & Attorney contact information.
- Is the employer H1B Dependent or not.
- Public disclosure – where LCA will be posted for viewing by public.
We have included a sample H1B LCA copy at the end of the article for your review to see how this information is presented.
What is employer declaring by filing H1B LCA with DOL ?
As foreign workers are new to America, there is every possibility for certain employers to take advantage and treat them unfairly in terms of wage, benefits, etc. To address such unfair treatment, INA has put regulations in place to prevent such abuse and the US Dept of Labor enforces the same INA regulations.
US Dept of Labor introduced H1B LCA to protect the employee’s fundamental rights at work location in terms of wages, working conditions, and policies. In LCA form, employers declare/attest under penalty of perjury that they will abide by the labor laws and be compliant in the below four areas:
- Pay Prevailing Wage : That the foreign worker will be paid equally, similar to their other employees in that location or the prevailing wage rate in a particular location, whichever is higher for that position, and the foreign worker need to be paid during non-productive time. Also, provide same benefits as regular US workers. Read How to determine LCA Minimum Wage for a Job
- Working Conditions, Hours : That the employer will provide same working conditions as US workers and employing foreign worker will not adversely impact the working conditions at the location, especially hours, vacation time, shifts, etc.
- Strike or Lockout Info : That there is no strike or lockout or any other work stoppage for the named occupation in the place of employment during filing of LCA.
- Post LCA Notice, Share to Union, Employees : The employer will provide copy of the LCA to the employed workers in that location and will also be provided to union, if any. Also, post the LCA in two conspicuous locations where H1B worker will be employed or distribute through electronic notification for the employees in that location.
- Official Regulation H1B LCA : If you want additional details on the above rules and more info, you can read official regulation on LCA at INA § 212(n)-(p) on US DOL website
As per worker rights, as a foreign worker going through the LCA process, you are entitled to receive your LCA from your employer, if they are planning for your H1B petition filing. You can request for it, if you did not get it. You can read H1B Rights
You can check out employers posting the LCA related data on their official websites career section for public viewing. For instance, check Infosys H1B LCA Postings , Accenture LCA Postings
H1B LCA Processing time ? FEIN Time ?
US Department labor says that they will review and process H1B LCAs within 7 working days. The short processing time of LCA is due to their new FLAG system for online submission of LCAs. See below screenshot from their official website.
If your employer has never done LCA filing before, the DOL’s LCA filing system may not recognize their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). So, they need to first verify their FEIN with Dept of Labor ( DOL) and it can take 5 working days. If you work for a startup and they do not have FEIN then you need to factor in additional time.
Also, if you are filing H1B visa under new quota cap, during April first week, the system can be quite loaded and there is a risk of system outage. You may need to factor that time as well. The reason is H1B Registration Process ends by March 31st and employers will start filing LCAs in the system in the first few weeks of April. Overall, it is recommended that the employer starts the process earlier in March or even before, if they plan to file H1B in April.
H1B Minimum Wage or Prevailing wage in LCA ?
One of the most important aspects of an LCA is the prevailing wage for the position being offered. The wage information that is offered for the position is also present in the LCA under the section “F. Employment and Prevailing wage Information”, that says “Wage Rate Paid to Nonimmigrant Worker“. See below on where it in LCA and how it looks.
It is important to have the right wage level selected to avoid issues in the future. USCIS has been very particular about this and denied many petitions for not selecting the right wage as many selected ‘Level 1 wage’. Read the article How to find the Minimum or Prevailing Wage in an Area for H1B LCA
Client Information – Outsourcing Companies LCAs
Starting from October 2018, the LCA form also added a new mandatory requirement that if any employee is working at a client site as a contractor, then they need to mention the Client Name and full address as well. It looks like below in the LCA as in the screenshot. In fact, this has cause a lot of stir in the market. You can read Top 20 Clients for Major Outsourcing MNCs
iCERT System vs FLAG System for Filing H1B LCA
Previous US Department of Labor used a system called Immigration Certification system that was called iCERT for accepting H1B LCAs online. They have migrated from iCERT and use a new online system called Foreign Labor Application Gateway(FLAG) for accepting H1B LCAs online.
How to Check H1B LCA Online ?
There are few ways you can check H1B LCA details and status online. In the past DOL had an option to view the LCA details, but now they have limited the functionality and you can only see basic status and it only works for the most recent year. But, as part of public disclosure Dept of Labor publishes the LCA data for public review in the form of Excel files. You can download and review them. But, they are not really in consumable format as the files are really large with hundreds of thousands of rows. There are websites that represent data in consumable format and search for LCA like H1BGrader, that has the same information in better way. Below are the options
- Check H1B LCA Online : You can search and check your H1B LCA on H1BGrader.com website. It works for all years in the last 10 years, you need to enter the LCA number or browse by year for a company.
- FLAG – LCA search : Here you can see basic information only and only works for most recent fiscal year data. Check FLAG Case Status Search
- Official H1B LCA Data Excels : Check US Dept of Labor Performance Data
Overall, filing an LCA with US Dept of Labor is a pre-requisite for filing H1B Visa petition with USCIS. You need to include a copy of certified LCA along with your H1B application package sent to USCIS. It is critical for any prospective US work visa seeker to plan and factor in required time to file LCA as part of H1B process.
Sample H1B LCA Copy
Below is a sample copy of H1B LCA filed with US Department of Labor
Did I miss out on anything? How was your LCA Filing experience ? If you are planning for H1B Visa 2023 Season, plan ahead…
Any other things to consider ?
References : US DOL Website – LCA Instructions
What is LCA reposting?
My company address was changed and our immigration team says we need to repost LCA before travel. Whats does LCA reposting means and what can be the SLA for it
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What is the expiration date mentioned at the top left corner of the LCA? What does that mean?
I see there are 2 salaries on lca…wage rate from and wage to…I’m wondering what’s the actual salary..is it wage rate from..wage rate to or somewhere in between. Some companies are not putting wage rate to column at all. How do we know the salary?
Hi – Does new prevailing wage applies when we apply for H1B extension? For example my H1b was applied in the year 2017 and the prevailing wage in LCA was 90000. As of 2020, it is now 110,000. With my new extension since they file new LCA, does it have to comply with wage level as of 2020?
If they have a new LCA, then it has to be with the new prevailing wage. But, if they are using old LCA, then not needed.
Can LCA be filed with DOL ONLY after posting the LCA notice for 10 days at worksite? OR can the LCA be filed with DOL immediately after posting the notice at worksite?
I am not sure if the 10 days posting needs to be completed before the LCA can be filed with DOL.
My H1b extension is due and the current visa expiry is in the last week of July and the company has not yet posted the LCA notice. Hence getting worried about the timelines as I understand the notice to be posted for 10 days and then DOL also takes 7-10 days for the approval and then only the extension petition can be filed.
If the completion of 10 days of notice posting is must BEFORE filing the LCA then it is clear that 20 days period is must for filing extension.
I have been after HR people for this but not getting proper information. Not sure if my understanding is wrong. Please help.
It is on or within 30 days before the date the employer files the Labor Condition Application (LCA). Check Official Factsheet from DOL
As you can see, they can do it on the day of filing too…should be fine.
Thank you. That helps.
My company HR has informed me that the LCA has been filed with DOL. And also it seems it is approved and they are now moving ahead with filing of my extension petition.
Is there a way for me to get my LCA? I have the LCA number with me. HR is saying they will share it with me after the visa extension approval.
Thanks in advance.
You would be able to verify with excels on the DOL disclosure page. There is no place to check this today. The closest is to browse LCAs on H1BGrader LCA Search . One key thing, the data they have is update until March 2020. So, need to wait for their data refresh.
Regarding Elena Question:
About the timeline when the employer has to file LCA for H-1B for the first time. It says the LCA cannot be filed more than 6 months prior the beginning of employment but if I, theoretically, start work on October 1st, then the LCA has to be filed on April 1st? But now it wouldn’t be enough time to process LCA (May 2020 end reason by lockdown) and send it with the petition by the end of the time frame that USCIS accepts petitions.
Do we have a chance to initiate LCA process this year?
Yes, that is correct, you need to file only on April 1st or after. It takes 7 days for LCA processing, no delays there as it is fully electronic. Many have followed the current process and got it on time, so do no worry.
Is LCA can be filed without getting selected in the new H1B registration lottery?
Or Is LCA can be only filled for H1B Registration selected candidates?
LCA is not tied to an individual, it is tied to a position, so can be filed anytime.
Have you heard any delays with LCA.Did they started giving LCA for 2020 ?
Not really, there is no announcement as such. Usually it is fully electronic…
Hey Kumar ,
Are there any news reports \information of delayed LCAs ? Typically in the flag system ,people used to get it in 5 – 7 days. Isn’t it still the same ? Reason I am asking : If it gets delayed won’t it create confusion for people who file new petitions this year ?
This link says 112 days
As far as we know, there is no change…It is fully online and should not have much delays. There are no LCA processing times on that page. The ones you see are Prevailing Wage Determinations for PERM. Read closely.
You should read https://flag.dol.gov/programs/LCA , the ending paragraph has the processing time of 7 days.
Hi, Thanks for the clarification. Just got confused.
Thanks for your article.
Can you let us know how/where can we look for recent LCA database filed by employer for the year 2020.
As the url mentioned in article only have data till 2019 and now the new FLAG system is used for LCA filing.
Unfortunately, the 2020 fiscal year data is not yet released. You cannot verify it.
My employer is non profit organization and they have never filed for H1B visa and it is their first time. They have applied for LCA in month of December. Its been a one and half month and still they did not receive any confirmation from Department of Labor and eventually they are not able to start H1b process. I checked with HR regarding delay and they are not sure for the same. Can you please let me know what cab be the reason for delay in getting approved LCA?
I am a bit confused about the timeline when the employer has to file LCA for H-1B for the first time. It says the LCA cannot be filed more than 6 months prior the beginning of employment but if I, theoretically, start work on October 1st, then the LCA has to be filed on April 1st? But it wouldn’t be enough time to process LCA and send it with the petition by the end of the time frame that USCIS accepts petitions. Did I miss something or read something wrong?
P.S. Thank you for all of your info on H-1B visas. The most helpful site I’ve ever found!
Can LCA filed with employee current passport details if employee passport is in renewal stage? Can passport no change in LCA once get new passport no?
LCA does not have any personal information like Passport info, regarding the visa holder, it is tied to a job role at a location. You can look at LCA form to know what is usually submitted to DOL
Got my H-1B Visa for a client at Location ‘A’ but couldn’t join the project due to personal reasons. Later, got an opportunity to work for the same client but at location ‘B’. So, my organization applied for amendment for change of location from ‘A’ to ‘B’ in normal visa process. I travelled to the USA with amendment receipt and worked for 5months at location ‘B’. Now, my amendment petition has been denied. My visa and I94 are still valid until June 30, 2019 for location ‘A’. So, thinking for working from location ‘A’, but I just realized that LCA for location ‘A’ is expired.
So, my question is: Is it possible to apply for new LCA for location ‘A’ without any further petitions? and starting work at location ‘A’ as my visa/I94 are still valid till June30, 2019?
I am currently working for client AA at location X. I am about to get released from clinet AA and Start working for client BB at location Y .The distance between Client AA location x and Client BB location Y is 5 min walk way and both the client’s share the same zip code and also my H1B filed employer is same. My roles and responsibilites at Client AA and BB are the same and I have a valid LCA for cilent location AA.
Do my employer need to file an H1B amendment or LCA in this case.
My employer has filed my LCA on 22nd March, this is their first time filing for LCA and as mentioned above it takes additional 5 day to get FEIN approved. My question, can I submit my H1-B petition without approved LCA?
I have one. Currently I am with the company for 10 years. They are filling H1B for me.
I have worked for 3 years with X company and it recently gets shutdown.
Will it be a problem during H1B filling/ stamping ?
In Case of document, what kind of document they expect from previous employment?
If you have experience letter from previous employer, that’s more than enough. Merger, shut downs a re part of business which is understandable by USCIS.
Anyone knows the current waiting time for PWD (prevailing wage) for H1B from DOL? Before gettting it, my employer cannot file LCA for non cap H1B
Second, Could you directly use the FLC data center to get the Prevailing wage? My employer submitted to NPWHC (icert portal). And waiting for NPWHC to give us back the prevailing wage. But it will take a long time before my employer can file H1B
I have filed H1B last year and got selected in lottery and also received petition valid from (Oct 2017 to 2020), but I have not gone for stamping yet.
before that I have got selected in new project and applied for LCA. Shall I go-ahead for stamping with New LCA and old petition.
Urgent plz help,i just noticed that my will be getting expired in first week of julyand my amended petetion is approved and valid till april 2018.Ususally lca date and petetion validity are same but due to mistake of my employer they hve put diffrent date in lca.what should i do?does this require to file an amendment petetion or just my employer needs to file lca? Pls help……
Hello, for all time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the daylight, as i enjoy to find out
more and more.
I am in India. I got H1 last year. My company is planning to send to different location(XX) and different client(YY)(LCA is different city(AA) and different client(BB)).
My company wants to change LCA, but it will take 3-6 months to change LCA now(no premium).
But I need to go ASAP. Client will not wait for 3 months.
Is there any solution?
The LCA can be updated in 1-2 weeks. Its H-1 amendment that would take time. You should be travel to US using current petition and amendment receipt. Talk to your attorney about it.
Were you able to travel , As i am also facing same issue , need to travel to different city and LCA will take time.
Does anybody know if a PAF (Public Access File) needs to be filed for every single candidate that is in the LCA (Labor Conditions Agreement)?
For example, an employer files an LCA for 10 candidates for the role of business analyst. Of those 10 candidates, 5 get approved for an H1B. Would a PAF need to be filed for all 10 candidates on the LCA or just for the 5 for which H1Bs were approved?
my employer filed an LCA for me last year and I didn’t get selected in h1b lottery, does the same employer need to file LCA again this year if there’s no any job description/salary change?
I think that’s possible. My case was not picked up in last year’s H1-B lottery, and my attorney did not provide me with a new LCA this year. When I asked him if I will get a new LCA this year, he mentioned they plan to use the same old LCA which was approved for last year’s lottery as the job description did not change.
I got selected in the H1B lottery for 2016. I have still yet to go for my visa stamping. My LCA was filed for $100,000 during January 2016. Now I have got an additional 12 months of experience so wanted the company to increase my salary.
My question is can the company increase my wage before the visa stamping with the current LCA form. i.e. is it possible to ask the company for a new offer letter with better salary with the current LCA form or the company needs to file a new LCA form with the current wage?
LCA shows your salary to USCIS, and that is the minimum they are going to pay to you to be in good state with USCIS. Your company can pay you more than what is shown in LCA without any problem. It is usual case.
Hello, can my employer file LCA for H1-B visa in January or should we wait for the march to file the LCA?
I did my H1B visa process through one of consultancy by paying cost of it. Additionally, I have to pay stamping, travelling and initial accommodation cost. The consultant will start paying me when I am chargeable after one or 2 months of arrival in US.
At the other end, my current employer is ready to tranfer my H1b and will pay entire cost of tranfer, travel of my family, initual accommodation of 15days everything as its a MNC firm.
I have signed on LCA offer letter of the consultancy where it state that employee has to pay 20000$ if he will not join us on visa approval.
Could u pls help me out from this. Whether should I breach the term and join my current employer in US.
The employer will have 0 financial loss if you don’t join them. You have paid the money all along. In addition, they are on the wrong side of law as they were supposed to pay for the petition fees.
IMO, you can join the current employer and once their petition is approved, travel to US to work for them.
What do I need to do when wrong LCA was filed by employer during H1B Transfer?
I am on H1B in US. I moved from company A to B and my H1B was transferred to Company B to work on a Employer-Client(EC) model.
As per my offer letter, my work location is XXXX(Client location). But the Company B has filed LCA for location YYYY(Employer location) which is 200 miles away from XXXX. That H1B was approved. It has been 10 months since I joined and just found that my LCA has been filed for the wrong location where I am still working in Client location XXXX.
Now, I asked my employer to file an amendment right away and I will work from location YYYY(Employer location) until that amendment is approved. I have requested my employer to reimburse all my travel and lodging allowance as it was the employer’s fault of filing the LCA wrongly. But they are denying me to provide that and asking me to spend out of my pocket as it is my visa which is impacted and nothing on them. I am under immense stress and cannot concentrate on anything. Please help!
Well it impacts both employee and employer. The employer is on the hook to ensure that correct location is mentioned in the LCA and not the employee.
Ask them to file amendment ASAP and then start working from current location as soon as you receive the receipt notice. If the client is ok to work remotely, then work from YYYY until amendment receipt is received.
Received LCA certified and filed petition to USCIS for amendment in regular process.
How long will it take to get I-129 and receipt number?
Usually receipt number is received within 2 weeks, but their SLA is 30 days.
Is it possible to apply for LCA, after the lottery results? Or is there any defined timeline (other than in early march due to system overload issues)?
LCA can be applied anytime. However, if is to be used for a cap-subject petition, then that cannot be done as cap is over for this fiscal year.
One question on LCA, does an employer need to share offer letter before starting LCA process? I would like to know if employ signed offer letter is mandatory to file LCA.
That is not a requirement. LCA doesn’t contain employee information. So it is filed as a generic and the corresponding I-129 petition would contain all the employee details.
Thanks for sharing this information Saurabh..
Hi my employer did no share any LCA with me, neither did I sign. if that is the case can the employer still file my petition for H1b cap.
Yes, it is still possible that the petition has been filed although LCA wasn’t shared w/ you.
Now that we know they closed the petitions time, can someone explain the deadline?
– When will the lottery take place?
– How many days after a lottery we will know how many petitions were received?
– When will you know if your case was selected in lottery? (both Premium and Non Premium)
– When will you know if it was rejected? (both Premium and Non Premium)
I am not asking for exact date guys. Just trying to understand the process moving on.
All of these are answered on H1B 2017 updates page and H1B 2017 FAQs Page
USCIS announced they reached the cap today April 7.
There will be a lottery, but they dont know when.
Hi Carla, Where did you see this information?
what if my employer mistakenly putt wrong address in LCA in place of employment?
It would be an issue then. I-129 has to be filed for the location mentioned in LCA. If the LCA has incorrect location, then H-1 petition may not get approved as your documents will point to a different location.
My employer filed LCA as city: Middletown, county: Middlesex, State: New Jersey, Postal Code 07748. But county for “Middletown” is “Monmouth” . Is it going to be an issue?
If the zipcode is correct and the only issue is county name, then it should be ok.
I think tomorrow 7th April 2016 is last day to receive the applications. Can you post, if anyone is having idea like – How many total H-1B applications reached USCIS this year.
We do not have any official updates from USCIS or even unofficial from others. Will keep everyone posted as we have updates.
Thanks Kumar for your response. Going forward, can you post or update everything here. Like H-1B App count received this year, when USCIS will conduct the lottery process and etc.
Then it would be helpful for us come to know and also will clarify our doubts…
All the updates are tracked on H1B FY 2017 Updates page
Seems like everyone around is doing duplicate filings this year. Some companies have started doing business around this loophole. Depressing.
Oh that was my main question and some answers I received here confirmed my worst nightmares.
Who says a small Russian or Chines company (just an example) wont file 2 or 3 petitions on the same person hoping 1 will get selected in the lottery? Worst case scenario both get selected and USCIS catches the fraud. They just close this company and open a new one …
But what if 1 of them wins and you get a visa?
Think about it. USCIS does not check EVERY FILE before doing a lottery. If this year there are 200.000 initial petitions, who says some are not duplicated and get into the lottery? This means someone has the chances twice or three times higher to win the lottery!
For example company X has filled 100 LCA’s for the financial year 2016 (this info which i can get from the database ), Does that mean it can process H1B for only 100 empolyees . I am confused as you have mentioned in article “Total number of job positions the LCA is applied for ( can be one or any number)” .