A Quick Guide to Working in the United StatesIf you’ve always dreamt about working in the United States, unfortunately it’s not as easy as applying for a working visa, packing your suitcase and hopping on the plane. The first thing you need to secure is a job offer, which will allow you to apply for an H1B visa.
About the H1B VisaAn H1B visa is an employment-based visa that is issued for eligible and qualified temporary workers. This visa category enables US employers the opportunity to hire foreign professionals if a US citizen or resident is not available to fulfill the requirements of the job.
The job must be considered a specialty occupation that requires theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine.
EligibilityUnlike tourist visas, individuals are not able to apply for an H1B visa by themselves. The employer must petition for the entry of the employee.
For you to be able to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialized occupation, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You hold a US bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college or university
- You hold a foreign degree that is equivalent to a US bachelor's or higher degree
- You hold a registration or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the occupation
- You have previous training or experience that is equivalent to the completion of such degree
Application ProcessAs soon as the petition is approved, the USCIS will send your employer the Form 1-797 or the Notice of Action, which will allow you apply for a H1B visa.
Step 1: Make sure to have a digital photograph ready.
You are required to submit a digital photograph when applying for a H1B visa. It must meet the following requirements:
- Minimum dimensions must be 600 pixels by 600 pixels.
- Maximum dimensions must be 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.
- Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
- Image must be saved as a JPEG file.
- The file size must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes.
After you successfully filled out this form, you will receive a barcode that will be needed to set up your interview appointment.
Step 3: Pay the visa application fee.
Step 4: Schedule an appointment with the Consular Service.
The appointment will consist of two visits:
1. Biometrics. Proceed to one of the five Offsite Facilitation Centers (OFC) for your fingerprinting and photograph
2. Interview. Make sure to schedule an appointment with the Consulate or Embassy for a personal appearance.
Step 5: Prepare your documents for the visa interview.
You should have all of the documents ready:
- Valid passport
- Confirmation page of the DS-160 form
- Fee receipt
- Letter of visa appointment
- Documents from the employer (e.g. job offer)
Bring other supporting documents required for your visa category.
Step 6: Make sure to arrive on time for your interview.
ValidityThe H1B Visa is valid for up to three years, but it may be extended to a maximum of six years. If you wish to remain in the United States for more than six years, H1B Visa holders can apply for permanent residency in the US to receive a Green Card.