The H1B Visa Process

Employer Steps in the H-1B visa process

  • Determining the Prevailing Wage for the Offered Position

Prior to filing an Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor, the employer has to determine the prevailing wage for the offered position in the US. Prevailing wage simply means the average wage paid to employees in a similar occupation in the same metropolitan area in the US. The prevailing wage is mostly determined by comparing with workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

  • Filing the Labor Condition Application with DOL

After the prevailing wage determination is received, the next step is for the employer to file a LCA with the DOL. The LCA can be submitted up to six months before the intended start date of the job.

  • Filing the Petition for a Non immigrant Worker with USCIS

The employer will have to complete and file the Form I-129, Petition for a Non immigrant Worker (with the H supplements) with the USCIS.

After the USCIS approves this petition, they will send the employer a Notice of Approval, Form I-797A. This does not guarantee that a visa will be issued to an applicant at a U.S. consulate abroad. USCIS may request additional evidence/supporting documents to support the H-1B visa petition. Such notification will have a description of what additional proof they require and also the deadline for submitting those.

Employee Steps

  • Applying for the Visa at the US Consulate

Once the H-1B visa petition is approved, USCIS will send a Form I-797B, with which the foreign national employee can apply for a visa at a US consulate in his/her home country. The employee has to file Form DS- 160. This form is available online and US consulates require visa applicants to e-file the form before the visa appointment.

  • Paying the Visa Application Fees

After completing the application forms, including e-filing the Form DS-160, the next step is to pay the machine-readable visa application fee (known as the MRV fee). Instructions regarding how to pay will be given by the consulate.

  • The Consular Interview

The employee has to attend an interview before being granted an H-1B visa. Officials will review the submitted application for correctness and the applicant’s qualifications.

  • Approval

The visa application may be approved immediately, but the employee has to wait a few days or even weeks to receive the visa. Once the employee receives the visa, he/she will be eligible for his/her temporary stay in the US as an H-1B visa holder. The visa will have the dates of issuance and expiration.

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