Do you want to move to the United States to pursue a career? Or are you already in the United States as a student or temporary worker and wish to stay long-term? If you have a degree in an advanced or technical field, an H-1B work visa could be your best option. The H-1B visa is designed to allow American companies to hire skilled workers from other nations. As the beneficiary of an H-1B visa, you get a job in the United States and legal residency for a long period of time, often several years. As long as you stay employed with a sponsoring company, you are a legal resident.
The H-1B process can be highly competitive and complicated, though. One mistake can be enough to derail your application. There's also the possibility that you won't get approved at all, even if your application is correct. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your odds. Below are a few tips to consider.
1. Submit your application on the first day possible. As you might expect, competition is high for H-1B visas. There are only a limited number of visas available and a high number of applicants. Technically, the application window lasts for several months. The reality, though, is that the number of applications usually exceeds the cap within a few days. Applications are reviewed in order, so the earlier you submit your application, the better the odds that you will get approved.
2. Get sponsorship from the right employer. Keep in mind that all fees and forms must be submitted before your application is reviewed. That includes forms from your sponsoring employer. If possible, look for a sponsor who has significant H-1B experience and is familiar with the urgency needed. Also, look for an employer who has a track record of paying an appropriate wage and keeping their workers long-term. Remember, if you lose employment with your sponsor, you could also lose your visa.
Another important point is that your job with the employer must match your degree. For example, a finance job may not be a good match if you have a degree in computer science. Immigration officials may view that kind of discrepancy as a red flag. Don't just look for any sponsor. It's worthwhile to take your time and find the right sponsor for your degree and your goals.
3. Work with an immigration attorney. The H-1B visa process can be complex. There are a substantial amount of forms and applications. They can be confusing, especially if English isn't your primary language. An immigration attorney can help you avoid mistakes and errors that could get your application rejected. They can also make sure you include enough information to avoid a request for further evidence, which is often a sign that your application is in trouble. Some attorneys will even coordinate with your sponsor to make sure everything is in good order and submitted on-time.
Ready to start the H-1B visa process? Contact an immigration attorney today to discuss your options.