The new visa rules under Trump regime has created confusion and ambiguity in the minds of Indian working class that wants to immigrate to the USA for a job. It was estimated that around 2.1 million Indians applied for immigration to the USA in last 11 years. Among different types of visas, H-1B visa to the USA is the most applied for a visa by Indians.
H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States, granted to foreign workers in speciality occupations wishing to work in the USA. H-1B visa is granted under Section 101(1)(a)(17)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the USA. As it is an employment-based visa, it is granted to only the eligible workers who want to work temporarily in the USA. The duration of H-1B visa is 6 years.
Eligibility for H-1B visa
The visa is granted to people working in speciality occupations only like science, engineering, arts, mathematics, etc. The person applying for H-1B visa must hold a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
The USCIS determines whether the employment fulfils the requirement of a speciality occupation and the employee is qualified for the job. The employer must file a labour condition application with the Department of Labor stating the terms and conditions of an employment contract.
Procedure to obtain H-1B visa
All visa applications must be sponsored by the employer. The employer hiring foreign workers has to apply for the employee’s H-1B visa through a petition in the US Immigration Department. After the approval of H-1B visa petition, the candidate is interviewed in the US Consulate or Embassy. After the visa is approved and the person passes the interview, the department gives a work permit in an I-797 form that allows the employee to obtain a visa stamp and work in the USA.
The form must be filed with requisite fees prescribed under the US immigration laws. The employee must also attach certain mandatory documents with the visa application such as:
- Fee receipt.
- Education and Experience Evaluation documents.
- Allotment letter.
- Original Notice of Action-I-797.
- Original Passport.
However, the new visa norms in the USA requires the employer to make sufficient efforts to hire American citizens before moving to non-Americans. It is advised to seek legal expertise of an immigration lawyer in India to initiate an H-1B visa application and understand the legal formalities involved.
The processing routes for the H-1B visa are categorised into Premium Processing route that takes 15 days to process visa applications and standard route that takes up to 3-4 months. There is no limit to the number of visa petitions for an individual. Multiple companies can file a visa petition for a single employee.
The spouse or dependents are allowed to accompany the candidate to the US after getting H4 dependent visa. H4 dependents are allowed to study and can apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the USA.
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