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Questions to ask your H-1B visa sponsor
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December 12, 2007

H-1B to the United States.

It's the most desired visa globablly, but getting one often seems impossible.

Can you apply for one yourself? Or must a company apply for you?

What's the best way to maximise your chance of securing one?

What does an H-1B visa entitle you to? What rules must you know?

US visa expert Arun Vakil chatted with Get Ahead readers on December 4th, and answered these questions and more.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the transcript: 

Transcript part one

vivek919 asked, got an offer from everest consulting inc, theya re filing my H1 B for next year and asking for Bank gurantee for 1 lakh rs they dont pay the salary on bench should i accept this offer what other risk can be?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Should try for a direct employer. Paying huge money to consultants is risky. The demand is the reason why there are so many visa sponsors, who are also called 'bodyshoppers'. Or simply put "H1B Dependant Employers". There are many such employers who are willing to sponsor you a visa, however, there are many fly-by-night operators as well, and who may swindle you. And many of those are unethical in their business practices. Most of the H1B aspirants outside of USA have a tough time understanding and qualifying a company that is willing to "sponsor" an H1B visa. Many offer excellent contracts and promises to lure the applicant to working with them. But then, how do you really be assured of the company, who will set the course of your career path for the rest of your life!!!

raj_gokul asked, I have aplied for 2007 h1. No news till now. What coul be the reason?

Arun Vakil answers, 
2007 quota is over a long time back.

rahulkro asked, Need you be luck to get h1b? 

Arun Vakil answers, 
There is an element of luck due to heavy demand.

prashant chaudhary asked, i had applied for a tuorist visa last year for got rejected..can i apply for H1b.

Arun Vakil answers, 
Yes, if you have right offer, eligibility and documents.

deepti asked, hii i had done Bsc(comp sci) and MCM and working from last 2 yrs what r chances i can get h1b visa and can u suggest me any gud consultants fro the same which can help me

Arun Vakil answers, 
Cannot say about consultants. Register on web site and try your luck

Suresh 67 asked, 1. Currently Holding a L-1B visa valid till 31st Dec 2008. Can this be converted into H-1B? 2. Can I file the H-1B on my own? 3. When is the earliest date for filing the H-1B for the year 2008?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Conversion is possible but you cannot file on your own. Earliest filing is on April 1, 2008

intekhab asked, Hi, know nothing about visa type, first of all want to know what is L1 and H1B Visa

Arun Vakil answers, 
L1 is intra company transfer and H1B is special skill visa for temporary work in the US with graduation

Niranjan asked, sir, I have more than 4 years of exp in e-learning for the schools of US. Could you plz let me know, how can I apply for h1?

Arun Vakil answers, 
If you are graduate having special skills, then only you qualify.

Imran Khan [Images] asked, I have a blue slip.. when can i expect the call as its already 3 months??

Arun Vakil answers, 
Could be from 4 to 12 months. asked, Is it possible to transfer the visa to other company? IF yes, then what is the process to do that?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Transfer can be done in the US after you have worked for some time with original employer. This process is known as a transfer. The process is very similar to extending your H-1B. Your new employer applies for a new H-1B petition. Along with the petition, you need to provide the old employer's petition and the last two paychecks. You should also look at your family's H-4 status at the same time! In the case of a transfer to a new employer, the family actually retains their H-4 status. However, in most cases, the new H-1B will also at the same time be valid longer. If you neglected the family's H-4s, then they may have to leave the USA when the old employer's petition ends, instead of being able to stay with the H-1B for the full term.

rajaraman asked, If I am already in US on a L1 thru Company A, can i apply for H1B thru Company B and subsequently work on a H1B for Company B without coming back to India.

Arun Vakil answers, 
Yes, theoretically possible. Practically cannot say as H1B is quota based visa available only eff Oct 1 every year

muthu123us asked, I had H1 interview at chennai yesterday and was given 221(g) saying it requires additional administrating process before taking final decision. Visa Officer collected all my employer documents,I 797,I129, etc.. and he returned my passport. What does "additional administrating process" mean ? How long it will take for them to process ?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Visa Officer is unconvinced about your job or your background or your employer. It could take a long time. No one can tell how long.

Gopinath asked, what are the charges like people have posted lawyer charge etc etc.. What is the total procedure and expenditure involved in applying H1 B VISA..

Arun Vakil answers, 
. There are a number of different fees involved. Note that fees change frequently, and sometimes with short notice. Be sure to verify the current amount of the fees!

The fees for the I-129 and I-907, as well as the training fee, are the employer's responsibility. Some employers ask for reimbursement from the employee. In the case of the training fee, this is strictly illegal. For the other fees, the law still expects the employer to pay them, but is less explicit about it. All these fees should be paid with business checks rather than personal checks. Some service centers will refuse to accept applications where the fee is paid with a personal check.

The visa fees are the applicant's responsibility. The method of paying varies from one consulate to the next. Usually, you have to wire the fees in advance, although a few consulates accept credit cards or even cash. LCA free I-129 $320 (Rs 13,000) base fee + premium processing fee if desired + training fee if applicable I-539 $300 (Rs 12,000) per dependent. I-907 $1000 (Rs 40,000) premium processing fee, in addition to standard fee Training Fee $1000 (Rs 40,000) if this is the initial H-1B or the first extension with this employer. The fee is waived for certain universities and non-profit organisations.

Note that it is illegal for the employer to ask you for reimbursement for this fee. Visa Fee $100 (Rs 4,000) plus a Reciprocity Fee. This Reciprocity Fee depends on your nationality and is generally the same as what Americans would be charged for comparable visas.

SPS asked, I attended my H1B interview at Kolkota Consulate in Nov 2006 and that time I was told that your case is pending for Administrative processing/Further clearances. In the month of sept 07 I recieved a mail from USCIS stating that "We are reaffirming your VISA Status and I got the form I797 reaffirming my VISA status from my employer. But the consulate is telling that they have not recieved any information from USCIS. So please suggest what shall i do

Arun Vakil answers, 
Ask your employer to check with USCIS office where original filing was done.

Beshi asked, what are the documents required for stamping the H1B

Arun Vakil answers, 
See my article on H1B visa on today

nasir_qureshi asked, My H1 was stamped almost a year after I recieved my I-797 form.will it create problem? what documents should i carry in support of the delay

Arun Vakil answers, 
No. Employer letter to say that job is open for you even at this late stage

Keethi asked, I have L1 visa now can i change this to H1 ? without leaving US

Arun Vakil answers, 
Yes if H-1B is available and you are eligible.

sr asked, Hi Arun, I am holding a B1/B2 and also H1B visa. I am travelling to US next month. What will happen if I enter US on B1/B2 instead of H1B? Will my H1B visa get cancelled?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Your H-1B will be invalid. Also you have to give explanation to visa officer as to why you are using B1 and why you did not use H-1B so far.

shabeer asked, my wife have h1 B visa.she submitted my documents for spoue visa.our interview is on january.After i got this visa and iam planing to submit for question is that when will i know whether the visa is aproved or not bcoz i heard they ll start the process in april it possible know in april or may?

Arun Vakil answers, 
You will come to know after Oct 1, 2008.

imtiyaz asked, what about sales job? in US and who are the employer for this type of job nad where i can get them

Arun Vakil answers, 
Not on H1B visa, it must be a specialised job.

Sachit asked, My Employer applied for H1B last time but due to lottery system it was returned back, please tell me how to approch coming year so that i can get hib?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Method is the same. You have to try your luck the same way as last time.

goyal123 asked, I have got H1B visa last year but was not able to go there due to some family issues. Will it brighten or lessen my chances getting H1B visa if i apply again this year or next year.

Arun Vakil answers, 
No problem. You have to have a convincing answer as to what caused non-use of your earlier H1B in case visa officer asks you.

Sujit asked, Hi Arun! I am working in a Tea Manufacturing and Exporting Company for the last 16 years. I have done PG Dip in Computer Science, but way back in 1991. Do I stand a chance of getting H1B? I had interacted with an IT Consultancy firm based in the US and they wanted $3000 and gave a 1 in 3 chances. Should I go for this ?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Difficult to say as H1B needs special skills and graduation. You need to find an employer interested in your work by registering yourself online or contacting placement bureaus. Paying big fees to consultants is risky unless you know the consultant well.

Ananth asked, Dear Sir, I got my application rejected under Section 221G, and they samped me AFU in my passport. After that i went to dubai without waiting for the H1B Visa officers at chennai to get back to me as specified in the letter. When will they get back? i dont think they will... whats the procedure they follow if they stamp AFU. Do they check or they dont? Why are they lagging in their service? I have been waiting for 10 years with no response..

Arun Vakil answers, 
Does not seem to work for you. Try another employer.

ranjeeth asked, hi Arun.. i did my bachelors and masters through correspondence(Indira Gandhi [Images] National Open University). i have been working for over 2 years as a software engineer.. am i eligible????

Arun Vakil answers, 

narasimha asked, arun, i am right now in the Uk emplyed with one of the big 4 IT companies but has always been to the US for the last 8 yrs on Business and hold a 10 year multiple ntry visa. i am a commerce grad with some extra doamin specific certifications can i apply for H1b, i come with 10 yrs of exp

Arun Vakil answers, 
If an employer is willing to petition for you and you can show some specialty skills, only then it is possible.

Anup asked, Hi Arun, I got H1 B visa from one consultant and now he is asking to come in feb 2008. I am from IT field more precisely in system programming (working in C). What are my future prospectus?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Depends on reputation of Consultant. Check him out.


Arun Vakil answers, 
Fees varies from lawyer to lawyer depending on nature of service you are taking from him.

vivek919 asked, I got an offer from everest consulting inc, theya re filing my H1 B for next year and asking for Bank gurantee for 1 lakh rs they dont pay the salary on bench should i accept this offer what other risk can be?

Arun Vakil answers, 
I would prefer direct employment by a company.

asdrajan asked, Can i attend the visa stamping on Feburary 2008 (Visa approved for processing in the year 2007). Is there any time limit before the interview needs to be attended after a form is accepted for processing. Will such delayed processing decrease my chance of getting a visa.

Arun Vakil answers, 
Normally one should go for visa processing as soon as you get Notice of Action. If delayed, take employment letter to stating that job is open for you.

sravan asked, I applied for H1B and got Consent from INS.I went to Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany [Images](where I am staying). They asked for more documents like 3 years tax payments from my company in US and also all the details of workers and there projects in the company where I will be going to work. Now its 4 months they are having my passport and I dont get any response? what may be the case? why are they delaying?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Inquiry may have gone to Washington which takes a long time.

Satram asked, Hi Arun, What do I do if my employer is creating problems for me when I want to change employer, say after 6 months in H1B with him?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Get another employer to file for you and seek transfer.

partho asked, Can anyone work on H1B depenedent visa?

Arun Vakil answers, 

Saju asked, I am B.Com. + MBA(Finance) in Banking /Insurace Operations for last 6 Years, currently working as Manager Operations. How can I apply for H1

Arun Vakil answers, 
If an employer is willing to give you job with special Finance skills, then you can apply.

hari9 asked, Hi Arun,I have been rejected J1 visa twice and H1B visa once in 2006 and 2006 respectively in stockholm!can you let me know the possibilities of approval next time for any visa to USA???

Arun Vakil answers, 
Need to evaluate your case to decide. Check with a professional.

mvgkbhat asked, Hello Sir, Would the oppurtunities of H1B visa confine to routine IT jobs? Do people with Semiconductor research background have any chances?

Arun Vakil answers, 
So long as specialty occupation is defined, you can be eligible in any line of business. But majority of H-1B visas are taken by software professionals.

varunsinghal001 asked, If for some reason H1B visa application was got rejected then after how much time will that candidate will again apply for the VISA

Arun Vakil answers, 
No time limit. Can apply whenever possible next.

Arpit asked, Sir i am a CA what r my chances

Arun Vakil answers, 
If you are able to undertake special projects of CA in international auditing with CPA knowledge, you may get a job.

Bharat asked, Sir, you are aware an L1 Visa holder cannot shift jobs. If he intends to shift jobs within USA, he needs to have a H1B. My questions are: a) Can he apply for H1B while he is currently in USA b) Does he need to quit his existing job before the employer sponsors his H1B. Request you to confirm

Arun Vakil answers, 
Change can be done from L1 to H1 in the US. No need to quit until H1 obtained.

arunm asked, Hi Arun , I m currently working as SAP consultant. I planning to start a software consulting company . Can i come to US on H1 visa and look for potential clients for my business in india? i do not want to work in US. I m jus looking at an entry to US where my duration of stay to develop my business should not be a problem .please advise

Arun Vakil answers, 
You should go on B1 visa.

preethi79 asked, Hi Arun. My comp had filed H1 papers this year and had a company query from consulate..My comp had sent the relevant papers about 2 weeks ago..How long will it take for me to get my papers frm the consulate?

Arun Vakil answers, 
Cannot answer this. You can check on

nadeem123 asked, Hi, I read many articles about fraudulent consultants who offer h1 visa by taking a fee, can you tell me how I cannot be fooled by these people.

Arun Vakil answers, 
Ask the visa sponsor the following -

� What will your designation be? Example - Systems Analyst, Team Lead, etc
� Where will your petition be filed? Location?
� What will be your salary (Prevailing Wage)
� What are your salary deductions?
� Who pays the medical insurance? (for family ?) How much deductions per pay check for medical insurance? Find out the medical insurance name. Ask for the state wise rates of medical premium payable by you. Your next step is to -
� Find out about the company from the Depart of Labor's database (http://www.flcdatacenter). What specific information should you be looking at ?
� Find the number of petitions filed by the company?
� What was the Prevailing Wage (salary) paid to other existing candidates such as yourself with your designation
� Where will your job location be? And where will you live? (State wise deductions in paycheck reflect greatly)
� Find out what are the deductions made on your paycheck?
� Find out who does their accounting? Is it done in-house? Or is it done any payroll processing company?
� Find out the medical insurance company's name?
� Find out the premium rates of the medical insurance? And how much will be deducted from your every paycheck? If with family, find out if the insurance for the family is also covered. If not, calculate the total amount you will be paying?
� Find out about their guesthouse facilities?(if any) If with family, will they provide you with accommodation?
� Will they pay you money when you have no work or you are in-between projects? (Some companies pay you a survival amount - $ 500/month)
� If you decide to go through them for your H1 visa,
� Will they get you an assignment before you land in the US or after you arrive there?
� Will they help you locate an assignment or do you have to market yourself and find yourself a job?

Remember, a visa approval is NOT a guarantee of a job. And without a job you cannot stay legally in the USA on the H1 visa. Once you have these answers that you feel are satisfactory and adequate. Your next step would be to evaluate, why are you required to pay for your own visa filing fees when the company looks credible. Companies that have filed prior H1B petitions, are validated by the DOL, and hence need no introduction. Again checking them against the Dept of Labor's (http://www.flcdatacenter) would tell you more about the company. Generally, companies do require H1B Aspirants to pay half of the fees towards the processing of the H1B petition, this again has got to do with candidates abandoning their employer who has paid the visa filing fees, got their H1B petition approved and then not joining them.

Arun Vakil says, I would love to answer more questions but time has come to stop. You can reach me with your queries on or For general inquiry, suggest you read my book GATEWAY TO AMERICA available at most major bookstores in India. The book is also available in Gujarati. You can contact me if book is not available in the market. Also, visit my website which will also give you a lot of information. And please remember. Do not send your bio data to me as I cannot give you jobs in the US. Register yourself in to seek employers in the US.

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