The United States continues to have a large number of immigrants entering the country to find work and provide a better life for their families. In recent years, we have seen an even bigger influx of people than before. With many people trying to obtain a work visa or H1B visa, there is a higher volume of work needed to sort through all the applications; thus, the average H1B visa processing time has risen.

Because of the longer processing times, people are waiting longer and longer after they file their petitions to get approval. Unless individuals happen to have knowledge regarding H1B regulations, most will be swept into a sea of unknowns once they file their petition. Gaining the most information about the processing time will help you gauge the length of time you will spend waiting to hear back about approval.

With the H1B having one of the simplest eligibility standards, it is by far the most popular option for work visas. However, this does not mean that the process of applying and waiting for processing is simple. We will go over the information that you need to know to start this process and how long the 2020 H1B visa processing time will take.

Getting Started With the 2020 H1B Visa

When beginning this process, you first need to find a sponsor that will help you cover the fees of the application. This sponsor needs to be an employer that is willing to hire you onto their team and who takes on the responsibility of giving you a specific position that will require a Bachelor’s Degree. This sponsor will also take on the burden of paying all fees for you as well.

As your sponsor, this employer will be required to acquire an LCA (Labor Condition Application) that says they will provide you with a wage that is consistent with other employees who do a similar job in the company, that hiring you is not harmful to other employees, that you will be like any other American worker, that there are no current strikes or lockouts at that time, and that other employees will be notified of the LCA.

Then, your sponsor must obtain and submit an I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and pay the appropriate fees that go along with it. This petition should be filed after April 1st, and before the five-day window closes. There is an enrollment cap for accepted petitions, which is at 85,000 a year. With the average number of petitions being over 200,000 annually, you will then be entered into a lottery.

The H1B Visa Lottery Process

This system takes random selections from the high number of petitions and can not be sped up except for being exempt through the Master’s Degree Exemption, which picks 20,000 from those who have a Master’s degree before the others. Essentially, with this exemption, you can be chosen in the first lottery of 20,000 or entered into the general population lottery for a second chance if not chosen.

If your petition is not picked in the lottery, then the fees that the employer and sponsor paid will be refunded and you will have to reapply the following year. If you are lucky enough to have your petition pulled in the lottery, then you will begin processing after the selection. If you are living outside of the U.S. you will have to travel to the U.S. consulate or embassy to continue the application process.

What Happens in the H1B Visa Processing Time?

During each step of this lengthy process, timing can be difficult to predict because of many factors that affect the process. Depending on how busy the processing center is, if you are asked to provide evidence at their request, or if the LCA takes time to process, you can be waiting a while. Premium processing can help cut down the time, but it costs money and you will still have to wait at least six months.

This process can be extended if your LCA is not found to be complete, so going through your petition thoroughly and double-checking all your information will help ensure that nothing will halt the process once it starts. It is recommended to have your LCA completed well before the application deadline so you can have it filed as soon as the window opens.

Possible Delay in the H1B Visa Processing Time

When going through this process, there is one major delay that could further extend the processing time. This is a request for evidence, which requires more information from you or your employer and sponsor. This information could be related to the job itself, your qualifications, or the control that the employer will have over your work, wage, and employment status.

If evidence is requested from your employer, there is a window of time that they will have to respond to the request. If they don’t give a response in time, you may be denied. Keeping up with your sponsor about every step of the process can keep things running smoothly, so it is recommended to do so as much as possible. If need be, talk to an immigration lawyer about any issues. Call Pride Immigration today for assistance.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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