The H-1B is a nonimmigrant employment based visa given to a foreign worker in a specialty occupation. A beneficiary already has a job offer on hand in the U.S.
The process to get the H-1B visa is:
- The employer files a petition with the USCIS for the foreign worker
- The USCIS tags each petition with a number
- A computer generated random selection process is used to draw petitions according to the caps - 20,000 for the Master’s exemption and 65,000 for the general cap.
- The employer/attorney who filed the petition that has been selected will be sent the H-1B receipt notice, which has a number that is to be used to check its status
- The selected petitions are processed by the USCIS.
- The USCIS may approve the petition, reject it, or request further evidence.
If the H-1B petition has been approved, what are the next steps?
If the H-1B petition has been approved and the beneficiary is within the U.S. under a legal status, the new H-1B status will automatically apply when he/she starts working.
If the H-1B petition has been approved and the beneficiary is abroad, then
he/she has to go through Consular processing. This is also applicable
to those who may be within the U.S. and whose nonimmigrant status expires
before the work start date. In such a case, the beneficiary has to go
through the Consular processing in their home country.
The Consular processing, during which the visa stamping happens, needs to be done 90 days before the petition start date, which usually is October 1st. It is advisable to start the process well in advance. This is because not all beneficiaries will get their visas stamped in this first appointment itself. The immigration officer may request more information and documents to be submitted. In such a case, the beneficiary needs to have sufficient time to submit the documents and get the visa stamped in time to start work on the mentioned date.
What next after the visa has been stamped?
Once the H-1B visa has been stamped on the beneficiary’s passport, he/she can enter the U.S. 10 days before their work start date, and not earlier. They can use the time to prepare for their journey.
Need Counsel for Immigration? Call Today.
Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the circumstances surrounding the H-1B process to obtain legal status in the United States. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a rejection of your application or other immigration penalties, such as deportation. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
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