The immigration process is a delicate one, regardless of the visa you choose. Because of the competitiveness of the H-1B visa, it’s all the more important to make sure that you get it right the first time. If you have been wondering which H-1B visa documents are required for the filing, interview, and even Requests for Evidence, this page will serve as your reference point.
In order to truly understand which documents are required for the H-1B visa, let’s start with the basics. The H-1B is a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa meant for foreign nationals with a job offer in a specialty occupation. To qualify for this visa, you will need to prove a few things:
- That you have a valid job offer from a bona fide U.S. employer
- That you and your employer have a legitimate employer-employee relationship
- That your position qualifies as a specialty occupation
Additionally, if you are planning on submitting a cap-exempt position, then you will need to provide supplemental H1-B visa documents. Cap-exempt positions are those for institutes of higher education, nonprofit organizations affiliated with institutes of higher education, and governmental research organizations. The required documents to prove your cap-exempt situation vary from person to person, so ask your immigration attorney what you should provide.
H-1B Visa Documents List
Because there are several different process stages for the H-1B, there are also different documents required for each stage.
H-1B Documents for Filing the Petition:
- I-129 Petition
- Approved Labor Condition Application
- Supporting evidence, including
- Copy of resume
- Copy of job offer including job description
- Proof of your degree
- Other evidence that may be particular to your case
Required Supplementary Documentation for the H-1B Visa Process:
- A copy of the passport
- Proof of prior employment
- Proof of existing certifications or accomplishments
- Letter from registrar to certify completion of educational credits
- Copy of educational or technical degrees
- A copy of transcripts
- Letter from the present employer
For the Best Chance of Approval:
- Sign all forms in black ink
- Be sure all signed checks/money orders contain the correct amount
- All documentation must be submitted with the Petition in a timely manner.
- Complete all sections within the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129).
The entire H-1B visa processing mandates a specific H-1B package. Along with all the documentation, the package requires separate checks for the I-129. The expected fees include premium processing (if applicable), fraud fee, U.S. employer sponsorship, and public law. The checks should be stapled at the bottom right corner of the first page. The USCIS does have a preferred order of documentation.
If you are outside of the U.S. when you petition for your H-1B and not under any other nonimmigrant status, you may need to go through a consular interview before entering the country. This means that you need to make an appointment with the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and participate in the one-on-one interview with your consular officer.
Keep in mind that not everyone needs to go through the interview process. However, if you are required to have an interview, be sure to complete the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application and bring the receipt as well as the confirmation page along with you.
H-1B Visa Documents for Premium Processing
If you and your attorney agree that premium processing would be beneficial to your H-1B situation, you will need to file an I-907 Request for Premium Processing along with the requisite fee.
Order of Documentation for H-1B Process
- Form I-907 ( if applicable)
- Form G-28
- Form I-129
- Any mandatory attachments
- H Classification Supplement. If the Petition is for a Chile or Singapore applicant, petitioners must add a Free Trade Supplement.
- H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
- All supplementary documentation (including the Labor Certification Application and attorney representation letter).
Do Not Submit Multiple Filings
As of March 19, 2008, U.S. employers are not authorized to file multiple or duplicate H-1B petitions for the same potential employee. The change was administered to lawfully monitor the distribution of yearly H-1B Visas. The consequences of creating multiple petitions during the H-1B process are denial and rejection. The USCIS will reject the Petition and not refund the submitted filing fees.
Applying for an H-1B Visa
The cap-subject H-1B application process is made up of several different steps:
- An employer that is based in the United States must submit a registration on behalf of the immigrant worker during the month of March.
- If the registration is selected in the lottery, the employer then submits an H-1B petition to USCIS.
- The employer pays all of the relevant application fees.
- If the petition is approved, then the employee can begin working as an H-1B employee on October 1st.
USCIS can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to process requests submitted for regular processing, while premium processing guarantees a response time of 15 business days.
Registrations for an H-1B visa will proceed to the H-1B lottery, where a computer-generated random process determines which registrations are selected based on the annual H-1B visa cap.
H-1B Visa Stamp Checklist
After receiving an Approval Notice (Form I-797) from USCIS, you must make an appointment at your local consulate or U.S. embassy to get a visa stamp on your passport.
To schedule an H-1B visa interview, you will need the following documents:
- Photograph – Take a photo that meets specific standards set by USCIS. This photo should generally meet the following specifications: square, color, and be a minimum size of 600×600 pixels and a maximum size of 1200×1200 pixels in a JPEG file format with a file size of fewer than 240 kilobytes.
- Complete the Form DS-160
- Form DS-160 is an online form, available on the United States Department of State (DOS) website. During the process of filling the application, you should have your passport number, travel plans, details of any recent trips to the United States within the past five years, information on existing and previous jobs, and education, along with a copy of your USCIS approval.
- Pay the DS-160 visa fee of $190
- Make an appointment to have your biometrics taken
- Schedule a visa interview.
- Bring all the documents related to the visa stamping interview and get the H-1B visa stamp.
Documents Required for H-1B Stamping
This list is the minimum of important H-1B documents that you will need to submit to stamp your H-1B visa:
- Appointment schedule letter
- DS-160 barcode confirmation
- Original H-1B visa approval notice (Form I-797)
- Letter for the H-1B visa application provided by your employer
- Petition for nonimmigrant workers, Form I-129
- Payment stubs for at least the last three months
- H classification supplement to form I-129
- Employment verification letter
- Request for working conditions for H-1B and H-1B1 non-immigrants
- Monthly statements (last three months), Bank of America provide immigration letter
Supporting Documents for the H-1B Visa
Depending on your case, the following may or may not be required by the embassy. However, it is best to bring them when going for your H-1B visa if possible:
- A letter from your current employer, giving you an extension of employment
- Copy of your resume
- Description of your sponsoring employer
- Notification of H-1B approval from your former employer (if applicable)
- Form I-797 A, B or C
Your academic credentials will also be required during the H-1B application process. So, bring the following documents to the H1B visa interview:
- Official transcripts from any universities or colleges you have attended
- Diploma or official diploma certificates, or both
- Original I-20 forms, if you have a U.S. degree
- Official transcripts from any other certificates you might have received
- If applicable, your OPT or EAD card
U.S. Government Documents
Depending on the period of your stay in the United States and your current status, bring the following documents, if you have them:
- W2 tax forms from at least two previous years
- 1040s tax returns
- Social security card
- Driver’s license
- Client letter
Personal Documents for H-1B Stamping
If you now live in the United States, bring a copy of your utility bills and rental agreement during your H-1B visa stamping. If you are not sure which documents to bring, be sure to contact an immigration lawyer or other immigration professional.
You need to have as many of these vital documents with you as possible, as this interview is crucial for your successful entry into the United States. The personal documents you need depend on your case; some candidates need more and others less, depending on each unique case.
Some issues may arise when you are employed by a company with fewer than 25 employees. If so, be prepared to answer more questions. USCIS is typically much more critical of these cases, as they can often lead to fraudulent situations.
Required Documents for H-1B Dependents
H-1B applicants will need to bring the following documents if they intend to apply on behalf of their spouse and dependent children:
- The original notice of action form I-797 of the H-1B applicant
- The original Form I-129 of the H-1B applicant
- Photocopy of a valid visa of the main applicant, if applying separately.
- An original marriage certificate, joint bank accounts, complete wedding photo album, or any other document that can prove the marriage
- Original birth certificates of dependent children
NOTE: Be sure to check with your U.S. consulate to find out what documents are needed, as the list may vary from country to country.
Also, because J-1 visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, the required documents for applicants may vary. You can work with an immigration attorney if you have any doubts or concerns.
H-1B Documents for a Green Card
If you are planning on using your H-1B visa to make the transition to lawful permanent resident status through a green card, there is another list of documents to take into account.
- You will need to have your employer submit an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker along with all supporting evidence for the green card you are pursuing.
- If you would like to use premium processing, you will need to file a new I-907 that is separate from any form filed as an H-1B document.
- Once your Petition has been approved, and your priority date is current, you will need to submit an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status.
Alternatively, if you go through consular processing, you will need the following documents:
- Your passport and any expired passports
- A photo of you
- Comprehensive evidence of your green card eligibility
- Your resume
You will also need to complete a DS-260 online immigrant visa application and print out the confirmation page and the receipt before attending your consular interview.
How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help
The H-1B visa is the most sought-after U.S. nonimmigrant visa. But despite the stiff competition, presenting your documents the right way can make a difference. This is why you should work with an expert. The H-1B visa may seem like the most accessible visa, but there are still many requirements and steps to go through before you can start working. Making a mistake on just one of your H-1B visa documents can result in a delay or even a denial of your visa. This will likely cause you and your employer both time and money.
To avoid this, the best thing to do is to have a qualified H-1B attorney handle your case. At our firm, we specialize in employment-based immigration, particularly the H-1B visa. From start to finish, we take care of every step of the process and ensure that you are on the optimal path to working in the U.S.
To get in contact with our firm, you can fill out this form and schedule your consultation today.