5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make While Pursuing Your H1B Visa
Posted by Frank Gogol
The amount of H1B visas available to foreigners is limited, and goofing up during the application process can ruin your chances of acquiring it! There is a cap of about 65,000 visas available, and although the actual visas administered can reach upwards into the hundred thousand range, there is still a lot more applicants than there are visas available.
Many people make simple mistakes that destroy their chances of getting an H1B visa, even if they are the perfect candidates! We want you to avoid this, so in order to help you combat the visa woes that so many fall susceptible to, we have written an article warning you about the common blunders people make as they pursue their H1B visa.
Down below, we outline the 5 biggest mistakes you can look out for as you continue on with your process. We wish you luck, and we hope you stay on the lookout for these so you have nothing in the way of getting that H1B visa!
Table of Contents
5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make While Pursuing Your H1B Visa
1. Be aware of the H1B process and deadlines
Probably the most important piece of information we can give you is your promptness in getting your H1B application in well before the deadline. The entity that grants H1B visas is called the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS normally starts accepting H1B applications at the start of the fiscal year, which is the first day of April. Unless the first is on the weekend, then the opening would start on the first business day of the month. There is no exact deadline for the visa, however as soon as the quota is reached, visas stop being granted for the year. In recent years this has been happening faster than normal, so it is best to get your visa in as soon as possible to avoid filing after the cap has been met. For instance, for the 2018 year, the USCIS started accepting H1B visa petitions on the April 3rd, 2017 and reached their cap on April 7th, 2017 and no longer took any petitions afterward.
It is also important to be very aware of the process and how long it actually takes to go through everything with your employers, lawyers, and the entities you need to deal with in order to get your visa. Before you even submit your visa, you need to understand the time it takes to file the respective documents to have a complete H1B application. Since the application process requires different people to sign off on different things, and submit different information, it is important to stay on top of the actual timeline required to have a full application ready to turn into the USCIS.
For instance, the Labor Condition Application (LCA) is an application that your employer and lawyers need to gather together and file with the US Department of Labor (DOL) in order for you to have a complete package for submission. This takes about 7 days to process; not counting the time it takes for your employers to get around to it and have it ready to go.
Companies that do not understand the H1B process and are new to the procedure might not know about having to register their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) with the DOL as well. If the employer hadn’t done this process in the past, you can tack on an extra 5 business working days to get this done.
So follow up with your employer and stay on top of the entire process so that you do not miss your chance of getting your H1B visa granted. Some companies are small and unaware of everything they have to go through so it is best you do and provide detail on what the steps are. Other companies are big and need reminders on individual candidates so everything gets processing on time, and the deadline is not missed. Either way, communicate often with your lawyers, always being courteous to their time and priorities. Being nice and polite will go a long way in increasing your chances.
Lastly, be as prompt as possible during your visa application process! The USCIS uses a random selection process known as the H1B Lottery to select the winners, and if your H1B application isn’t ready in full at the appropriate time, you might miss your chance at acquiring your H1B visa. The phrase “The early bird gets the worm” pertains in so many situations in our lives, and it rings true for the H1B application process as well!
2. Do not apply for multiple H1B petitions through the employer and its affiliated companies
Sometimes people believe that successfully getting an H1B visa might come down to a numbers game. The more times you apply, the more times you are in the H1B lottery, and the higher your chances are to get picked! It might seem logical because of the way the process works is based on a lottery system. For instance, in a raffle, the more times you buy a ticket, the greater your odds are at winning the prize. For H1B visas, petitioning more than one time actually has an ADVERSE effect — it can hurt your chances at getting an H1B visa.
Although the USCIS does not prevent multiple petitions, they are still aware of the amount of filing being done for a candidate, and more importantly if the same company is doing the filing. When this happens, a red flag is raised in the USCIS system and they can immediately deny your chance of getting a visa. This holds true even for affiliate or partner companies that are applying for the same candidate. Although they are not stated as the company you are getting a visa from, they can still catch on to the trick you’re trying to pass over their head. It is a sticky road to walk down if you choose to go down this path. We do not condone this in any way only because we want your chances at getting an H1B visa to increase, not decrease.
3. Do not petition for multiple H1B through different employers
Tricking the system with the numbers game doesn’t end with an excessive employer, employee H1B petitions. Another case where you can see a similar case of H1B manipulation is during the filing of multiple H1B Visa petitions, through the Employer — Vendor — Client (EVC) model. How is this different from the previous example? Well instead of partner or affiliate companies filing for the same candidate, there are cases where two completely different companies file an H1B visa for the same client role and individual. There goes another red flag to the USCIS, and they will try to stop you in your tracks and reject your multiple applications.
Try not to figure your way around the system in order to get your H1B visa, and do things honestly and correctly. If you are a truly valuable candidate, you do not want to ruin your H1B opportunity because you risked your chances of trying to “beat” the system.
4. DO NOT pay the H1B fee yourself
Depending on the company size, the amount of H1B employees a company has, attorney fees (and whether they are in-house or outsourced), and additional optional charges to speed up an H1B application decision, estimated costs for petitioning for an H1B visa can fall anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000 USD. Costs can rise even more depending on how the company manages the process. If you want to see the exact prices and fees for a nonimmigrant worker seeking an H1B visa, they are outlined in this beautiful chart on the USCIS site here.
The cost of getting an H1B visa is a big chunk of money that some companies might want to avoid. If your sponsoring employer insists that it should be you paying for the visa, please err on the side of caution as you continue dealing with them. It is legally your employer’s obligation to pay for this fee, and if the USCIS finds out that you paid for it out of your pocket, you can say goodbye to your chances at getting an H1B visa. The USCIS expects all to abide by the proper rules set by their process and when they catch on to delinquent acts, they respond with ending your chances at receiving an H1B visa.
Keep in mind though, to get a decision on your visa within 15 days of submitting your application, you as the employee can pay the extra $1,225 USD it takes to do so. This is entirely up to you depending on where you are in the timeline of your visa application and how anxious you are to have a reply. The company might offer to pay the fast processing fee depending on how they deal with H1B petitions. Each company is different so make sure to bring these questions up with lawyers and employers during the hiring process.
5. Do not petition for an H1B visa with an employer that does not meet the requirements to grant you this kind of visa
This is most likely one of the biggest problems hopeful applicants face when it comes to rejections of their H1B visas. If your employer cannot prove to the USCIS that he has legitimate business with the ability to pay you- nor does the company have proof of proper tax filings your application will get rejected. Even if you have done your part in making sure that you qualify for this kind of visa, there is no way around ensuring that the company you work for has the proper funds and legitimacy to sponsor work visas. The USCIS can request any kind of document to prove these things, and your employer and lawyer should always be ready to provide the required documents.
You might not have access to all of a company’s information to make sure it is an adequate one to file for your H1B visa, but you can check your employer’s past H1B success and failure rates. This information is available to you due to public disclosure laws in place by the USCIS. However, you cannot always assume that employers who have never applied for H1B visas in the past are not worthwhile to petition your visa.
Some companies might be legitimate startups that had never pursued this H1B sponsorship with their employees and therefore do not have evidence to show that your H1B application can be successful. What is important that you need to make sure of is that your potential employer is part of a sustainable company with positive long-term business projections. In these cases, it might be best that you stay on top of the H1B process even more, as they might be unaware of all that petitioning for an H1B visa entails.
Wrapping it all up…
A major takeaway from the common mistakes people make when petitioning for an H1B visa is to be fully aware of the entire process and to learn everything you can to stay on top of the application process. You do not want to ruin your chances at being granted an H1B visa because you didn’t understand the process well enough and didn’t know the consequences of wrongfully trying to increase your chances at winning the H1B lottery. Do not try to fool the USCIS because you will run into problems down the road that can lead to the dreadful rejection letter of your H1B application. We urge you to avoid these common blunders and to be as proactive as possible during your H1B visa application process so that you can win the H1B race!
If you have any questions or comments and concerns about the mistakes people make when applying for an H1B visa, please let us know. We will be more than happy to help you understand the entire H1B process in detail so you do not run into any problems! We have tons of articles explaining the H1B process so that you can rest assure that you are prepared as possible to be successful. Check the rest of them out on our website.
Do you have anything to add to this list about what you should avoid as you pursue your H1B visa? Let other readers know about your experience as well so we can keep learning the best ways to increase our chances at successfully being granted an H1B visa — including those things that decrease our chances. Good luck in your H1B visa endeavors and we hope this has been useful for you!