As the 2017 H1B visa season gets underway, you should know that a large part of the process to obtain this popular non-immigrant work visa can be accomplished online. This is good news for many applicants who are in their own country of residence, and do not have the opportunity to travel to the US unless they actually get the H1B visa.
Here is an overview of the steps that can be taken from your own home (or internet café), no matter where in the world that you live. As you will see, there is really no disadvantage to applying from your home country, and the only ‘edge’ you might lose is the lack of an in-person job interview.
Finding US Company – Sponsor Database
The first and most important step is to locate companies that are regular sponsors of H1B visas in your specialized occupation. Those companies will know how to file the petition and are willing to pay the required fees. You can find sponsoring US companies right here on our website database at h1b.io.
Applying for a Position
Once you have selected a few potential sponsors, you can inquire about positions that match your background. If there is an opening, resumes and cover letters can be submitted directly via email, and interviews can take place over video chat platforms such as Skype.
Make sure that your resume and educational degree specify the direct relationship to the job you are seeking, as that is a core requirement of the H1B visa program.
Filing the Petition
If you are offered a job, the sponsor takes care of petition filing, and you as the ‘beneficiary’ only have to submit documentation about your education, work experience and skills. Be sure that all information is accurate to avoid any issues if the facts are double checked.
Supplying Required Documents
Once again, most documents can be submitted by email, and usually scanned originals will suffice for items such as degrees or transcripts. Some sponsors may want ‘official sealed transcripts’ and those would have to be sent by post.
Consulate Interview Appointments
Although the consulate interview takes place in person, it must be scheduled in advance. Many US consulates have online scheduling to find a slot that is convenient and meets the time deadline for the petition. This saves you a trip to the consulate just to schedule an interview.
Finding Out if Your Petition Was Approved
Petitions subject to the cap may take from 2 to 6 months for approval, but you can check the status on the USCIS website https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do by entering your receipt number. This will show you whether the visa is still under review, approved or if there is a request for more evidence.
A Full Overview of USCIS Rules and Requirements
In addition to checking petition status, the USCIS website is a good resource for detailed information on the H1B program. This overview page also has links to FAQs on various parts of the program https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models.
As you can see, it is possible to find a sponsor, apply for a position, send petition documentation, schedule consulate interviews and check petition status, all online, from anywhere in the world. If you need assistance with locating sponsors or understanding the process of applying, please contact us at any time.
- January 2nd, 2017