H1B Facts

Learn quick facts about H1B Visa.

H1B cap / number per year

Each year US issues 65,000 H1B visas for foreigners and an additional 20,000 H1B visas for students who completed masters in USA. As you see the masters cap is exclusive to only a select few.

USCIS accepts H1B visa applications on April 1st (start date). From 2014 the overall H1B visa cap has been consistently hit by around April 5th – April 7th. This has prompted US government and USCIS to perform a lottery, to select H1B visa applications which are randomly selected or drawn. There is no criteria for salary, education, age and language requirements while selecting H1B applications.

Salary requirements for H1B

Recently the US administration issued the “Buy American Hire American”  executive order. Although this impacts a broad range of topics covering US economy, it does allude to foreign workers being hired in America. Make no mistake – US is still a welcoming country, but your salary would have to match that of the region where you plan to work. This is done to ensure that you do not undercut fair wages provided to Americans. In general the thumb rule for salary is around 90,000 USD, with areas like San Francisco and New York City having higher thresholds.

Travel outside US

When you have a H1B application pending with the US government, it is advisable to avoid foreign travel. Although you can technically travel after they have received your H1B application (with valid travel documents) , it is always better to be in US till the application is approved. The reason this is recommended is because each time you leave and reenter US there is a possibility that your i94 reference number changes , causing unnecessary complications.

H1B premium processing

There is no relation between a H1B premium application and a regular application when you apply for H1B lottery. In the last few years, H1B premium processing has been suspended during the H1B filing  period, to avoid the surge of applications that USCIS would receive. If USCIS accepts your application for H1B premium processing, then they are obliged to provide a decision in 15 days.

H1B kick off date

Although you apply for the H1B visa on April 1st , the day the H1B visa kicks off is Oct 1st. After this date, you should take your approved I – 797 papers and schedule an interview with the US officials at the nearest consulate. Based on the time of the year and the processing time at the office, you can expect to wait about 5 – 7 days to get your passport with the H1B visa stamp – after it has been approved.

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