As the most popular nonimmigrant visa available, the H-1B is highly sought-after due to its relatively simple eligibility requirements. First, let’s talk about what goes into the process so that we can get a better understanding of how long the H-1B processing time is for each step:
1. The first thing you will need to do is find an employer in the U.S. who is willing to sponsor you throughout the H-1B process. This employer will be responsible for giving you a specialty position that requires at least a bachelor’s degree. They will also be responsible for paying all of the mandatory fees associated with petitioning for the visa
2. Now that you have found a sponsor, that employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application on your behalf from the Department of Labor. Filling out an LCA involves four attestations made by your employer. They must attest that: Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators
A. You, the beneficiary, are going to be given a compensation that matches or exceeds the prevailing wage and the actual wage (wages of other employees in the company that perform similar tasks)
B. Hiring you will not be detrimental to the current working conditions and that you will be treated the same as U.S. workers in the company.
C. No strike or lockout is currently in place.
D. The current workers in the company have been or will be given notice of the LCA.
3. After that, your sponsor then needs to submit an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker for you. This is the part that will require your employer to pay some fees attached to the petition filing process. Your petition needs to be filed after April 1st, 2017 and before the end date, which is usually five business days after the window opens.
4. Because the annual limit for H-1B visas is 85,000 and the USCIS received 236,000 petitions last year, your petition will be entered into a random lottery. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to increase your chances in the lottery and thus decrease your H-1B processing time.
A. First, 20,000 petitions are selected for the master’s degree exemption. If you hold an advanced degree from an accredited university, you could be eligible for this exemption.
B. Then, 65,000 petitions are selected for the regular lottery. If you filed under the master’s exemption and were not selected in the first lottery, then your petition will be re-entered into the regular lottery, essentially giving you two opportunities for selection.
5. If your petition is not selected in the lottery, then your petition and all fees will be returned to your employer and you can petition again next year. For H1B Visa Evaluation Visit here
6. If and when your petition is chosen, the USCIS will begin processing each selected petition. If you select premium processing, this step can be shortened drastically.
7. If you are not in the U.S., then you will need to travel to a U.S. consulate or embassy to apply for the visa. If you are in the U.S., then your status will change when you begin working for your new employer on October 1st, 2017 at the earliest. That will be the day that you gain H-1B status provided that no RFEs or other delays have taken place to slow your H-1B processing time.