How to Apply for H-1B Visa – 2011

Raghuram Sukumar H1B and H4 Visa 45 Comments

How to apply for H-1B Visa from India and other countries including US? So many IT workers try to apply for H1B visa, but only few of those are actually aware how one can get H-1B Visa.

In this article you will learn everything about H-1B visa application process.

Applying for H-1B Visa

One can apply for H-1B Visa from

  1. Within the U.S. (from different visa types)
  2. Apply for H-1B visa while you are outside the U.S. (for example, India)

Applying for H-1B Visa in America

You can apply for H-1B visa while you are in a valid visa status in the U.S.

  • F-1 Visa to OPT to H-1B Visa
  • F-1 Visa to H-1B Visa
  • L-1 Visa to H-1B
  • L-2 to H-1B
  • B-1/B-2 to H-1B Visa
  • etc.

Can I apply for an H-1B visa by myself?

Nope, you cannot sponsor an H-1B visa as an individual, by yourself. Only an employer (a business organization) can apply for an H-1B visa. Which means you will need to find a job and ask your employer to apply for you.

Difference between an H-1B applied by consulting companies and direct employer

  • Consulting Company – You will have to find and join a consulting company. They will apply for your H-1B visa, meaning, the consulting company will be your employer. The consultants will help you find jobs (contract), and sometimes you will have to search for and find jobs through your contacts. After the "project" (with the consultants) is over, you can look for a new job (a real one). Most of the times, consulting will be a traveling job.
  • Direct Employer – You apply for jobs directly to companies and when they hire you, they will apply for your H-1B visa. After your visa is approved, you can then work legally for them.

When Can One apply for an H-1B Visa?

The USCIS starts accepting petitions for H-1B visa every April 1st of each year. However, the annual H-1B visa application season actually starts on October 1st of any year. There is no deadline to apply for H-1B Visa from April 1.

For example,  for the H-1B Visa Fiscal Year 2011, applications can be sent starting on April 1, 2010. Until all H-1B visas slots are filled-up, the USCIS will continue to accept H-1B visa petitions.

You can see the time line featuring the number of H-1B visa application filled for FY 2010.

Applying for H-1B Visa from India (and others)

The only way to apply for an H-1B visa from India is to find an employer who will apply for your H-1B visa. Potential employer can be either a consulting company or via direct hire.

Most of the time, IT workers find some Indian consulting firms based in the U.S. which help these workers to for H-1B visa in their behalf.

Can you suggest a consulting company to file my H-1B?

Well, that’s really your job to find a consulting company. You only have to be very careful because lately, there had been many consulting firms caught to have committed fraud.

So, be careful and ask for reference from trusted sources.

Best Time to file an H-1B?

Drawing from the example given above, for H-1B FY 2011, a consulting company has to apply by April 1, 2010. Which means you need to find a company and send all the required documents to them well before April 1, 2010.

I hope the above information is helpful. When it comes to immigration matters and the USCIS, always consult an immigration attorney for better guidance.

Raghuram SukumarHow to Apply for H-1B Visa – 2011