H-1B

9 Tips for Successful H-1B Visa Application and Approval

Published On
March 13, 2024
Read Time
4 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

The H-1B visa is a great opportunity for employers to hire skilled foreign workers in the United States. However, the application process can be complex and highly competitive. How can you streamline the process and increase your chances of landing that exceptional hire?  

Here are some valuable tips to help you through the H-1B visa application process effectively and secure approval for the sponsored employees.

Tip 1: Understand Eligibility Requirements for the H-1B Visa

Before sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa, it’s crucial to understand the eligibility criteria set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Ensure that the employee meets the qualifications for an H-1B visa. Also, assess your company’s need for the specific skills and expertise that the employee brings to the table.

The Department of Labor (DOL) defines a specialty occupation as one that requires theoretical and practical knowledge of a specific specialty and a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the specific field (or an equivalent level of experience).

Tip 2: Prepare a Strong Labor Condition Application  

The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is a crucial document filed with the Department of Labor by the U.S. employer seeking to hire an H-1B worker. The LCA demonstrates that hiring a foreign worker won’t adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers in the same occupation.

A strong LCA should include details of the prevailing wage, working conditions (salary, benefits, hours), worksite location(s), and proof of good-faith recruitment efforts by notifying employees of the LCA filing.

Tip 3: Gather Detailed Documentation

A well-organized and comprehensive application package significantly increases your chances of approval. The essential documents to gather include your company’s legitimacy documents (such as articles of incorporation or tax returns), the beneficiary’s qualifications (degrees, transcripts, certifications, experience), a detailed job description, the approved LCA, and any supporting documentation like letters of recommendation, awards, or publications (if applicable) to showcase the foreign worker’s expertise.  

Tip 4: Understand the H-1B Visa Lottery Process

Due to the high demand for H-1B visas, USCIS conducts an annual lottery to select a limited number of applicants for further processing. As an employer sponsoring H-1B visas, it’s essential to understand how the lottery process works.  Here’s what you need to know about the crucial deadlines:

Initial Registration Period: During this period, employers electronically register potential H-1B beneficiaries for the selection process. The electronic registration for the FY 2025 H-1B cap runs from March 6 to March 22, 2024.

Petition Filing Period: If your candidate gets selected in the lottery, you can proceed with the next stage: filing the full H-1B petition package for the chosen beneficiary. USCIS typically opens a petition filing period in April. Stay updated on the exact dates and ensure all documentation is meticulously prepared to meet this deadline.

Tip 5: Foster Clear Communication with Your H-1B Candidate

Maintaining open communication throughout the H-1B process is crucial for a smooth experience. Here’s how to keep your candidate informed and engaged:

Prompt Response to Requests: Respond promptly to any requests for documents or information from the beneficiary to avoid delays in processing.

Updates on the Application Status: Keep the beneficiary informed about the application’s progress and any updates received from USCIS.

Address Questions and Concerns: Be available to answer the beneficiary’s questions and address any concerns regarding the job offer, LCA, or the application process.

Tip 6: Prepare Your H-1B Candidate for the Visa Interview

If the USCIS selects your application, the beneficiary you’re sponsoring might be interviewed at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. Prepare your H-1B candidate for potential consular interviews by reviewing application details, practicing common interview questions, providing document copies, and offering professional dress code guidance.

Tip 7: Avoid Duplicate Applications

The H-1B visa operates under a lottery system, and employers might be tempted to submit multiple applications for the same candidate to increase their chances of selection. However, USCIS has safeguards in place to prevent this. The agency rejects duplicate submissions from the same employer, seemingly separate affiliated companies, or identical end-client projects with different employers.  Play it safe and submit just one application per beneficiary to simplify the process and avoid unnecessary delays.

Tip 8: Ensure Accurate Fee Payment

All H-1B application fees are the sole responsibility of the sponsoring employer, not the beneficiary. USCIS will reject applications where the beneficiary has paid any fees, except for specific authorized instances related to premium processing. H-1B fees are subject to change. Familiarize yourself with the latest fee schedule to avoid delays. USCIS recently increased the H-1B petition filing fee to $780 from $460 for employers with more than 25 full-time employees. A one-time Asylum Program Fee of $600 is also required for each Form I-129 filed by such employers.

Tip 9: Partner with a Knowledgeable Immigration Attorney

The H-1B visa application process involves complex legal and procedural requirements. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney specializing in H-1B visas can be invaluable. Immigration attorneys can make your H-1B process more efficient by assessing eligibility to avoid rejections, crafting compliant LCAs with accurate prevailing wages, meticulously reviewing applications for completeness and persuasiveness, and guiding you through RFEs (Requests for Evidence) from USCIS.

Final Thoughts

Successfully sponsoring H-1B visas for your employees requires careful planning, thorough preparation, and clear communication. By understanding the eligibility requirements, planning ahead, providing comprehensive support, and maintaining patience throughout the process, you can increase your chances of securing H-1B visa approval for your sponsored employees. Remember to stay informed about the latest updates and regulations regarding the H-1B visa program and consult with immigration professionals as needed.  

By following the above tips, you can have a smooth H-1B visa application process and successfully attract top talent from around the world to contribute to your company’s growth.

Streamline your H-1B process with OnBlick’s immigration case management system, offering document collection, online Form I-129 filing, petition creation, and tracking – all in one user-friendly platform. If you’d like to learn more about OnBlick’s H-1B compliance and case management services, click here.

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