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H-1B visas: Are you qualified?
Dr Arun Vakil
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December 04, 2007

Yesterday, we discussed some myths surrounding the H-1B, along with other details. Today, we'll continue our exploration.

Every year the H-1B application filing date opens on April 1. This is the time that US employers can file H-1B applications for foreign workers that they have interviewed and selected to employ.

~ Individuals cannot file their own H-1B visa applications - only the employer company (known as the "sponsor" can file the application.

~ With only a few months left before the start of H-1B filing period, it is important forworkers and students who want to obtain an H-1B visa, to start their H-1B job search as soon as possible.

How do you qualify for the H-1B visa?

The education requirements for the H-1B visa are the equivalency of a US bachelor's degree, or four years of post secondary (college/university level) study.  If you do not have a four year degree or if you have an incomplete degree, you can combine with a post secondary diploma from a government recognised institution or you can use work experience.

USCIS uses the three to one rule. Every three years of progressive work experience in the field is equivalent to one year of post secondary study. For example, three years of university study plus three years of progressive work experience in the field is equivalent to four years of study or a US bachelor's degree.

If you have no post secondary study, you can show 12 years of work experience as equivalent to a US bachelor's degree. Two associates degrees may NOT be combined, but an associates degree (two years and six years of work experience may be combined to be equivalent to a US bachelor's degree).

For the USCIS to accept your work experience you need employer's letters stating your dates of employment, designation and job duties. This must be on the employer's letterhead and signed. You will still have to provide USCIS with verification of the work experience which has to be submitted with the original documents or it will cause a delay in fulfilling your evaluation.

Market your skills

Having identified potential employer/s and/or H-1B solution provider, you must market your skills with effective presentation of yourself through your resume/CV

Employers rely heavily on the resumes they receive to 'screen' for the best potential candidates. Given the choice of two candidates of equal ability, hiring managers will always prefer to interview the one with the most professionally constructed and attractive resume. For this reason, candidates with superb qualifications are often overlooked, and companies end up hiring from a pool of talent made up of those candidates whose experience is represented by powerfully written, visually appealing resumes.

Many aspiring candidates send their resumes to immigration lawyers and visa consultants.  This does not help, as professionals assisting in visa services cannot find a job for you or locate employer for you.  Resumes should be given only to prospective employers and web sites offering services to locate jobs.

Documents required for H-1B visa

Mandatory documents

Supporting documents

First time applicants are also requested to bring the following items:

The US consulate will not accept documents received directly from the company by mail or fax. All should be brought by the applicant to the interview. The consulate will not make this information available to anyone and will destroy the documents after review.

If you are currently working in the US on an H-1B visa, submit your pay slips for the current calendar year and your federal tax returns (IRS Form 1040 and W-2) for all years in which you were employed in the US.

All H-1B applicants are recommended to bring one extra photocopy of any original documents they presented with their application package that they wish to be returned.

Applicable to US Consulate in Mumbai only:

Submit all the documents listed above as 'Mandatory documents' at least 5 days before the interview.
Carry rest of the documents at the interview.

For all other consulates, carry all the documents to the interview. Do not send anything anywhere before the interview.

Tomorrow, we'll look at what to expect during your interview.

H-1B visas: What you need to know

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