- Education

Preparing for the H-1B Visa Process

Preparing for any U.S. visa process can be extremely overwhelming, but preparation is key.

“If you give yourself enough time to do research and prepare the documents needed for the particular visa you’re applying for, you’ll have a higher chance of having your visa approved on the first try,” according to Lisa Rough, writing for Remitly.

So when it comes specifically to the H-1B visa program, what should you know?

The H-1B visa is something that many tech workers have, or apply for. To be eligible, you have to work in a skilled job and have a specialized level of talent and expertise. It’s estimated that around 70 percent of workers in Silicon Valley are foreign-born and many are H-1B visa holders. It’s an important program in the tech industry.

So, if you’re going through the application process for this visa, or you’re a sponsoring employer, and you’d like to know how to help your future employee prepare, the following are some things to know.

The Process

As was touched on, for anyone who wants to apply for this particular visa, they will need a sponsoring employer first and foremost. That employer sponsors the employee, and the position must require at least a bachelor’s degree.

The employer has to complete the Labor Condition Application and depending on whether or not the employer or the employee is subject to the annual cap, an I-129 petition may need to be filed during the lottery.

If someone is already in the U.S. working under a different nonimmigrant visa program and they find a new sponsoring employer, their visa status can be changed.

For someone outside the U.S., they will have to go to a U.S. Consulate in the U.S. and get a visa stamp for the H-1B status.

Consular processing is generally much longer and more complex than a change of status, and it does require you to go through an interview.

H-1B Visa Stamping

The visa stamping process does require that an applicant has already had a petition approved.

Some of the things that a person needs to bring with them to their interview include a photo that meets specific criteria, the H-1B Visa Application Form DS-160, and their fingerprints.

They will also need any current and expired passports, documents related to their petition, their appointment letter and any necessary supplementary documents.

Interview Questions

Most of the interview questions for this visa will be related to the sponsoring employer and the applicant’s educational and professional history. For example, they may be asked specific questions about the employer they’re going to work for, including details about the history of the company.

The person going through the interview may be asked about where they got their degree, and what it’s in, as well as whether or not they plan to pursue further education or are currently studying.

Finally, questions about the applicant’s intentions may also be included. For example, the interviewee may be asked about how they plan to financially provide for themselves before they receive their first check and what their plans are once the visa ends.