H1B Wage Level: A Guide

Posted by Frank Gogol

Are you looking to apply for an H1B visa? Do you have some questions regarding the application process for an employment-based visa in the U.S.? For example, why is the prevailing wage for your intended position so important?

Employment-based visas are regulated by all kinds of laws and rules. That is why an H1B wage level is so important. Here you can find some more information to help you understand how it works and why the prevailing wage is so important.

What is the H1B Wage Level (Prevailing Wage)?

The H1B wage level (or also known as the prevailing wage) is the average wage earned by employees in a specific area. Each type of job has its own prevailing wage for a specific area. The Foreign Labor Application Data Center stores data about jobs in America. You can go to their website and search for the prevailing wage of any type of job within a specified area. You can also use online resources to check on the status of LCA requests.

Each type of job has four different levels of income (1 being the lowest and 4 the highest). The level implies a sense of seniority, management, or leadership associated with higher-paying jobs. You must know the level of the job you are searching for since the H1B wage level determines the prevailing wage.

Why is the Prevailing Wage So Important?

The Department of Labor (DOL) and the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) works together to certify and grant employment-based visas like the H1B visa. They want to protect the U.S. job market from being exploited by cheap labor practices. Therefore, before anyone from abroad may accept a job or even get an H1B visa, the position must first pass an LCA (Labor Condition Application) test. The test has some more implications but one of the key points are the H1B wage level. You might also wonder who needs to file an LCA for H1B visa. You can find more information on that here.

What is the Key Requirement for Wage in LCA for H1B Visa Petition?

As the saying goes, money talks, and it certainly does when it comes to H1B visas. So much so that money is one of the key elements in an LCA case.

As previously mentioned, the wage level of the type of job you are applying for from abroad determines the salary. A higher wage level determines a higher salary. The most important thing, however, is the fact that you may not earn less than the prevailing wage for your specific type of job in the area it’s listed in. Earning less than the prevailing wage won’t get an LCA approval.

The wage level is a key requirement in an LCA case regarding an H1B visa. H1B visas are reserved for people with a special skill, knowledge, or ability that is not readily available in the U.S. (or may lead to great benefit for the country). The argument then follows that a low wage level (like level 1) does not support the fact that the foreign immigrant applying for the job holds a special skill or ability eligible for an H1B visa. For some types of jobs, you may be able to get an H1B visa if the wage level is only on 1. This will depend on whether there is a shortage of that specifically required skill in the area.

You need to be sure that the H1B job you are applying for has a wage level that supports the grounds of your immigration attempt. Your best advice regarding immigration law will come from a professional like a U.S. registered immigration attorney. They will help you improve your chances of success as you apply for your H1B visa. Some applications for H1B visas have been denied because of the low level of the H1B wage level of the advertised job position. So, once again, it is really important to make sure your H1B application has enough merit to stand a chance of success.

How to find H1B Prevailing Wage or Minimum Wage for LCA

So, how do you find the prevailing wage for that job in the area it’s listed in? You can follow these easy steps.

1. Open the Website

It’s as simple as opening the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center website. Click on the option under the “Wage Library” tab that says “Search Wizard”.

2. Search for the Job

Enter the job details into the relevant search fields. This helps the system to pinpoint the specific job you are looking for. You can select “All Industries” if you are unsure about the specific industry of your job. You can also look for the job by using keyword related searches. Select and complete the applicable fields and hit search.

3. Know Your Wage Level

Once you’ve completed the search action you will see the different wage levels and their average wages for the specified geographical location. The employer must provide you with detailed information about the job you are applying for. That information must contain the H1B wage level of the position. Look for the corresponding wage level and compare the prevailing wage with the wage offered by the employer.

H1B Prevailing Wage FAQ

Now all these talks about levels, wages, and rules might confuse you. So to simplify it, here are some frequently asked questions about H1B wage level.

What is the prevailing wage?

The prevailing wage is the average wage paid to people working in a similar job. Prevailing wages are also determined by only using the data in a specified area, thus keeping the information relevant to the specific geographical location or the job.

What factors are considered for the prevailing wage?

Three factors determine the prevailing wage. They are as follows:

  1. The nature of the job offer
  2. The area where the job is performed
  3. The duties required to be performed in the job (jobs with similar duties will bunch together in the same categories).

Does an H1B worker have to be paid the prevailing wage to comply with H1B requirements?

The employer must pay the employee the prevailing wage or the actual wage in cases where it surpasses the prevailing wage. You don’t have to worry about earning less than your peers. This protects you from being treated unfairly while it also protects the U.S. job market and economy.

Personal Loans
 for Non-U.S. Citizens!

Check Loan Options

Loans for up to $35,000. No cosigner required. No prepayment penalty.


H1B visas are only granted to people who take jobs in the U.S. that have been approved by the Department of Labor. The Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be approved for that job before you can get the related employment-based visa.

Determining the prevailing wage for that job and comparing it to the actual wage offered in the job position is a key requirement in the LCA process. An H1B visa will not be available to someone if the wage for that job is not high enough. The actual wage offered must either match or exceed the prevailing wage for that job relevant to its immediate location. Just remember to compare jobs on the corresponding H1B wage level.

You can use the information we have provided here to search for the prevailing wage of your job. This is an important step as you won’t be able to get an H1B visa if your LCA process isn’t successful.

Read previous post:
H1B Visa Interview Waiver

Are you a frequent traveler to the U.S. and need to renew your visa now and then? The good news...