Journey from H1B visa applicant to Green Card holder

New Delhi: H1B Visa allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

The visa holders can stay in US for three years. The duration of stay can be extended to six years.

However, getting the visa is not easy as applicants have to satisfy set of conditions.

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Eligibility for H1B Visa

In order to become eligible for an H1B visa, a foreigner must satisfy the following criteria

  1. He should hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  2. Must satisfy the educational qualification required for the job.

Apart from the above eligibility, the sponsor US employer must show that there is a lack of local employees for the post.

How to apply for H1B visa

The applicant should first find job in the US as an H1B visa can be applied by a sponsor employer on behalf of the employee.

After offering a job in a specialty occupation, the employer has to apply for Labour Conditions Approval (LCA). The employer has to submit LCA online.

After the approval of LCA, the employer files a petition i.e., Form I-129. This stage will take around 3-4 months.

Once it is approved, the role of employee comes into picture. The employee has to visit US Embassy in the home country.

Lottery system

Unlike Canada where the applicant’s visa application is approved based on his/her score, in the US, if H1B visa applications exceed the annual visa cap, the lottery system will be followed. In the system, applications are picked randomly.

Holding master’s degree advantageous

In the system, first, applications of master’s degree holders will be picked until the cap on the visa is met. Then applications that are not selected go back to the pool.

These applications along with applications of Bachelor’s degree holders will be picked until the annual cap on the visa is reached.

In this manner, applicants with master’s degree will get two opportunities.

In 2020, the annual cap on H1B visa is 20000.

Importance of employment to continue H1B status

It may be noted that if the employment of the visa holder ends, the person has to leave the US unless he/she is granted change of status or successful finds employer compatible with H1B status.

Green Card

After the expiry of H1B visa, the foreigner can apply for Green Card. However, it can be done by the sponsor employee.

The sponsor employee has to get PERM Labour Certification before filing Form I-140.

Finally, employee has to file I-485 to get Green Card.

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