Many skilled foreign workers are preparing for the 2017 H1B visa lottery, and there are a few pointers that may help you be in the best position possible to secure a visa. Due to uncertainties around the future of the H1B visa program with a new incoming US president, the April lottery could have a record number of entries. For this reason, you should make every effort to submit the best application possible.
Finding a Job with a US Sponsor
You must have a US company sponsor your visa and submit the petition. You, as the worker are the ‘beneficiary’ of the application, and have little control over the process.
DO…begin locating a sponsor now to allow time for the preparation of the petition.
DON’T…wait until March to begin looking for a job, since even if you find a sponsor you may have to use premium processing ($1225 extra) to get the petition in on time.
Providing Documentation for the Petition
DO…provide your sponsor with all of the necessary documentation about your education, skills and work experience. This information will be used to determine if you meet the H1B program requirements.
DON’T…give false information or embellish your work experience. Some H1B visa holders are being questioned on arrival in the US if they have multiple copies of resumes or other documents that do not match the application.
The Consulate Interview
DO…schedule your interview as soon as possible. If you are applying from your home country, you will need to schedule a consulate interview where you will be asked questions about the sponsor, position, your experience and even opinions about the US.
DON’T…go to the interview without preparing and practicing answers to common questions. The consulate officer has the discretion to deny your petition if you offer conflicting or incomplete answers.
Alternatives to Lottery ‘Cap’ Positions
DO…look into cap-exempt positions that are not subject to the lottery. This is your best chance statistically to obtain an H1B visa if you can find a job that matches your education and experience.
DON’T…apply for positions that are not within the boundaries of your specialty occupation, just to land a cap exempt visa. The job must have some relationship to your background.
Changes to the H1B Visa Program
DO…be aware that there may be some changes to requirements for the H1B visa for both applicants and sponsors. The program will still continue nonetheless, but monitor this blog and the news so you have all of the current information.
DON’T…be afraid to spend time looking for a sponsor and applying for the visa now. The rules may not change at all for 2017, so in some ways this could be the best chance to secure the visa if there are significant H1B visa program changes in the future.
Starting to Work for Your Sponsor
DO…remember the H1B visa schedule to begin working. If you are applying for a cap exempt position, or are a lucky lottery winner, you will need to adhere to the USCIS rules on how soon you can begin working. For lottery cap positions, the earliest you can work is October 1, 2017.
DON’T…start working until your H1B visa is valid, even if you are already in the US and your sponsor asks you to begin early. Recently, it was discovered the wife of President-Elect Trump, began working seven weeks before her H1B visa was valid in 1996, meaning she was in violation of immigration laws.
Somehow, we are sure Melanie Trump can secure a pardon from the new president, but you will not have the same luck, so just wait until your H1B visa is valid.
If you have questions about the 2017 H1B visa program, deadlines and how to find a sponsor, please contact us.
- January 1st, 2017