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H-1B Application Process

An H-1B application is a multi-step process, depending on where the applicant lives at the time the petition is approved. This chapter provides an overview of the H-1B process, which includes:

Step 1

A US employer must first file a Labor Conditions Assessment (LCA) with the US Department of State (DOL), Form ETA 9035 (form attached).

Step 2

Once the LCA is approved and returned with DOL confirmation, the U.S. employer files Form I-129 (form attached) with USCIS, including the approved LCA and other supporting evidence. This petition may also require a person to change status if he or she is already in the United States on a different visa.

For persons already in the US, the process stops here.

Step 3

This step is only required if the individual is located outside of the United States. An approved petition must be delivered to the local consulate, where the person must apply for their own H-1B visa to enter the United States. Please note that visas are never issued in the United States. This means that H-1B workers who change status while living in the US must obtain an H-1B visa before re-entering the US if they leave the country. Visas are issued exclusively by US consulates/embassies in other countries.

Step 4

Once the visa is approved, the person can legally enter the United States and start/continue work.

H-1B Application Process