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H-1B Visas 

registration & petition

What are the basic steps that a petitioner must follow to hire an H-1B beneficiary?

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Electronic Registration Process

In 2020, the USCIS updated the registration process for the H-1B cap.  The general steps of the process for prospective petitioners (these are potential employers, referred to as registrants) as follows:

  • Register within the registration period

  • The USCIS will notify selected registrants

  • H-1B cap petitions will can begin to be filed

The dates may change, so please make sure to check the USCIS website regarding dates and instructions.

Other pages you may find interesting

On H-1B​

External Websites

The basic steps that a petitioner follows to hire an H-1B worker

Assuming that you have received a conditional job offer from an employer in a role related to a Specialty Occupation, DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker (H-1B2), or a Fashion Model (H-1B3), your prospective employer ​or their attorney can submit an initial application on your behalf. That they are doing this for your benefit, which is why you are referred to as a beneficiary.  

It is important to follow the registration timeline, which is posted on the USCIS website.

After initial applications are submitted along with a $10 filing fee (fee is current as of Feb 2021) by your employer or attorney using the H-1B Electronic Registration Process, along with information about the employer and beneficiary. The information collected about the beneficiary includes: name, gender, whether you are applying for graduate degree quota, birthdate, country of birth, country of citizenship, passport number. Assuming that more people register using this process than there are visa available, then the USCIS will run a "lottery" such that the "USCIS will select registrations for the 65,000 visa numbers first and then for the 20,000 master’s exemption visa numbers" (source).  Between 2008 and 2020, the cap was reached within 5 business days on eight of the years.

If all goes well, you will receive the status of "selected", which means that you are able to file your full petition, which includes more information such as an Labor Certification Application (LCA).

Petition Filing Process

*Note: The USCIS may change its requirements at any time. See current USCIS guidelines here.

Step 1: : Employer/Agent Submits LCA to DOL for Certification

Not required for DOD petitions

First, your prospective employer must receive what is called an LCA (Labor Condition Application) using the Department of Labor page. The purpose of the LCA is to protect U.S. workers.

"The employer must attest that employment of the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Employers must comply with wage requirements" (source)

While it has been established that hiring a foreign worker on an H-1B generally improves the U.S. economy, wages for U.S. workers, and employment in the U.S., some companies have sought to abuse the system.

Step 2: Employer/Agent Submits Completed Form I-129 to USCIS.

Next, your prospective employer will need to file the I-129 form to the correct USCIS service center, which can be found here. Called a "Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker," the form requires information about the company (aka petitioner), beneficiary, the position itself, the person filling out the form, and other information.

The USCIS has a I-129 I-129 Direct Filing Chart page to find the right service center.  "The DOL-certified LCA must be submitted with the Form I-129 (only for specialty occupation and fashion models). See the instructions to the Form I-129 (PDF, 397.18 KB) for additional filing requirements." (source)

Filing fees that the employer may need to pay when filing an I-129 (source) can include:

  • American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) Fee

    • Paid by petitioner. May be required of ​petitioners with more than 25 employees 

    • Paid by petitioner. May be required of ​petitioners with less than 25 employees  

  • ​Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee 

  • Pub. L. 114-113,

    • Paid by employers "that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of these employees are in H-1B, L-1A or L-1B nonimmigrant status"

Step 3: Prospective Workers Outside the United States Apply for Visa and/or Admission.
"Once the Form I-129 petition has been approved, the prospective H-1B worker who is outside the United States may apply with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an H-1B visa (if a visa is required). Regardless of whether a visa is required, the prospective H-1B worker must then apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States in H-1B classification." (source)

What's next?

Once your H-1B visa is approved, the next step is beginning your American Dream!

Our Welcome to America Page will help you to find:


Through our affiliates, we are able to provide you with thousands of dollars in savings and rewards!

What is an LCA?

It is a document that requires your employer to attest that:

  • the beneficiary's wages are equal to or greater than other employees in the company and that this wage is consistent with the prevailing wage for that occupation in the company's geographic region.

  • U.S. workers will not be harmed by a foreign worker

  • there is not a current strike or lockout within the company related to the occupation

  • notice has been provided to workers within the company of this role

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