H-1B Visa Application Guide

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to foreign nationals who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation. To qualify for an H-1B visa, both the employer and the prospective worker must meet the following criteria:

The employer must ensure that the nature of the job is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the main duties and responsibilities of the job is usually associated with the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Prospective Worker
Aside from a Bachelor’s degree, the foreign national must hold an unrestricted license, registration or certificate which authorizes him or her to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment. Additionally, he or she must have ample education, training or work experience in the specialized field.

The M-1 visa is issued for non-academic or vocational courses, while the F-1 visa is issued to all full-time international students planning to attend any academic institution in the United States.

Visa Cap and Length
The H-1B Visa is a petition-based visa that has an annual numerical limit "cap" of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Once the cap has been reached, USCIS will stop accepting H-1B petitions for the year.

The H-1B visa is issued for up to three years but may be extended for a maximum period of up to six years.

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Steps in Applying for an H-1B Visa

Before a foreign national can apply for an H-1B Visa, the employer must file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

Once the Form I-129 is approved, the prospective worker can now apply for a visa at any U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

Step 1: Secure a Digital Photo for your Visa Application
Make sure to follow the photo requirements specified by USCIS.

Step 2: Complete the Form DS160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application)
This form is completed electronically and must be submitted online.

Step 3: Schedule an Appointment for your VISA interview
It is recommended that you schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Also, make sure to schedule as soon as you can because wait times vary drastically depending on the season.

Step 4: Pay the Non-Refundable Visa Application Fee

Step 5: Gather the Required Documentation

The required documentation includes but is not limited to the following:

• Valid Passport
• Form DS-160 Confirmation Page
• Application Fee Receipt
• Receipt Number

Other supporting documentation may be required to establish that you are fully qualified. These include any documents that exhibit proof of social and economic ties to your home country.

Step 6: Attend your VISA interview

H-1B Work Visa Application Guide
Download the H-1B Work Visa Application Guide to learn more about the application process for this visa category.

It contains a step-by-step-guide that will help you file your application as efficiently and quickly as possible.

The application guide contains the following sections:

• Overview of H-1B Visa
• H-1B Visa Eligibility and Requirements
• Comprehensive Application Guide with Forms
• Document Checklist
• Information on H-1B Visa Extension
• Information on Obtaining H-4 Visas for Spouses and Children
• List of all USCIS (formerly INS) offices nationwide
• List of United States Embassies and Consulates

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