The Complete LCA for H1B Guide: Processing Times & Status Check
Posted by Rohit Mittal
An H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa allowing US companies to hire foreign workers. In applying for an H1B visa, the company petitions the government to grant the foreign worker time in the US to temporarily work for the company. The visa does not grant permanent residency, although it can lead to a green card in the future.
The H1B visa is a lot like the J1 Visa for scholars and students who come to the US for an ad hoc educational purpose. However, unlike the J1 visa, the H1B is for a temporary work purpose. A foreign student may graduate with a US bachelor’s degree through the J1 visa, go back to their home country, and then apply for an LCA H1B visa to come back to the US and work for an American company.
Read on to learn more, or check out our video What is LCA for H1B Visa? How to File LCA and Processing Time!
Table of Contents
What is the H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is the temporary visa needed to have temporary working status in the US. This type of visa is designated for workers who have specialized knowledge and are hired by Americans company.
Once you’ve been hired, the company has a vested interest in making sure you obtain the legal documentation to secure the right to work in America. In order for you to move to the US to start working within the country, they will petition the government to let you temporarily reside in the US to work. In essence, the employer is your co-signer in bringing you to the US. They vouch for your reasoning on why you wish to be admitted into the country, and petition on your behalf for the chance to bring you aboard.
LCA is Required for H1B Visa Application
Upon securing your job in an American company, the paperwork process is already underway. The LCA is filed by your prospective employer on your behalf which states the various factors of your job such as pay and working conditions. The US Department of Labor then reviews and authorizes the document so that you can acquire the H1B visa.
LCA Ensures Proper Wages
The main purpose of the LCA is to ensure that the rate of pay will be equal, if not more than, the prevailing rate of pay in the area where you plan to work. You and your employer negotiate a wage agreement, and then the LCA cements that agreement through the US Department of Labor.
The LCA’s wage documentation protects foreign worker rights. A foreign employee coming to America can find themselves in a very vulnerable position. They are adjusting to a new way of life and anew set of circumstances, all while taking on new responsibilities. Without an LCA, employers could possibly take advantage of this and give you wages that don’t follow your original agreement.
Having the LCA form sets the wage agreement in stone preventing this, which leads to a stable employer-employee relationship.
How to File an LCA
A company who has hired a foreign worker applying for an H1B visa submits the LCA through the iCert portal on the US Department of Labor’s website.
If this is the first time companies have sponsored a foreign worker’s H1B visa, they must first submit their federal employment identification number information to the Department of Labor for verification.
This verification takes about five days for the Department of Labor to complete, and once the verification has been received, the company can then file the LCA through the ICert Portal.
Be mindful of this because it could add wait time to your visa application.
LCA Processing Time
If a company has never filed an LCA, the processing time could be about two weeks with LCA filing and federal employment identification verification. If the company has already filed an LCA, then the wait time will only take about a week.
However, keep in mind that these are loose estimates. When dealing with bureaucracy, you have to factor in delays or high volume periods. You can check the current processing times on the iCert website.
It’s recommended that you begin your application process in early March to meet the April 1st deadline. Later in the month will lead to longer processing times, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and submit your application earlier.
How to Check LCA Status for the H1B Visa
You can check the status of your LCA petition by logging into the iCERT system portal through the US Department of Labor. By signing up through their terminal and entering your ID number, the database will let you know whether your LCA is pending, denied, or accepted.
LCA H1B Visa Application — 3 Tips
1. Establish a trusting employee-employer relationship
People entering AA go through a prescribed process, and part of that process is finding a reliable sponsor. This needs to be someone they know that they can fall back on when they feel like retreating to their old habits. The sponsor needs to be someone they can trust and rely on.
This same logic applies to the H1B visa process. The US company that has employed you based on your bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or specialty occupation becomes your character and work reference as they petition the US Department of Labor for your temporary status.
This is a great deal of responsibility, and therefore, it’s important to discuss potential setbacks and parameters. Wages and work terms need to be decided ahead of time so that you can easily transition into your work once you arrive.
2. Make sure you and the company find quality lawyers in advance
It’s going to be imperative to map out the visa application process ahead of time. Finding the right lawyer takes time, and will likely be a corporate lawyer hired by the company.
If the April deadline is approaching, and the company has not gone through the LCA process for an H1B visa in the last five years, the time it takes to find a lawyer will become highly inconvenient.
3. Consider getting a loan
The entire H1B visa process will likely be very stressful. Coordinating an overseas move, getting settled in a new place, getting what you need to survive in that new place, all while worrying about the LCA and H1B visa petition is an overwhelming amount of uncertainty to take on.
You may need financial assistance to bridge the gap between settling in and starting to earn money. Without any US credit history, it may appear to be impossible to get a loan from a traditional lender like a bank. However, this is not the case.
If you’re interested in getting a loan, there are online lenders and other alternatives that are designed to help immigrants secure financial assistance.
One such lender is Stilt.com. Stilt is dedicated to helping immigrants secure financial assistance. They understand the complexities of being an immigrant in America and are willing to consider factors that other lender won’t. For many immigrants, Stilt is one of the best choices as they offer loans without a need for a cosigner or previous credit history.
If you hope to join a US company through applying for an H1B visa, the LCA is your first step, and therefore critical in ensuring your arrival to the United States.
It’s important to work with your employer to plan the details of your work that are necessary for filling out the LCA as well as preparing enough time for the LCA to be approved so that you may continue with the H1B visa process. Although the path to working in the US can be confusing and difficult, we hope that this article helped you navigate the often complicated visa process and provided you with the necessary information to complete your visa application.
Stilt is dedicated to helping immigrants, which we hope to continue to do through supporting immigrants who wish to build a better financial future. Unlike other lenders, we take a holistic approach to determine low-interest rates. We help people with limited or zero credit history in the U.S. and offer loans to US immigrants, international students, visa holders, and the underserved who meet our minimum eligibility criteria.
Learn what others are saying about us on Google, Yelp, and Facebook or visit us at https://www.stilt.com. If you have any questions, let us know down below!