There is a wealth of information available on the H1B visa and the H1B visa process. Most of the information is very process-oriented and rather technical. The following list enumerates some 'practical' tips for H1B visa holders.

  • The first rule is that you must always keep a copy of your passport, and the I-94 tag with you. This is a legal requirement as per the INS.
  • The second and perhaps the most important rule is related to a change in work location. If you are on the H1B visa and you are moving to a new work location in a different state, make sure that your employer has got the LCA for you. This LCA will reflect a valid permit to work in the new location.

Check the status of H1 applications

How do you check the status of H1B applications? You may use the following contact information to find out about your H1B application approval status.
Check online at USCIS website.
Call Toll Free: (800) 375 5283
** Use touch-tone phone for this service.
You must have the receipt number handy with you. This is the number you get when the INS acknowledges receipt of your application and assigns a number to your application. In US there are 4 INS service centers that handle H1B related applications. The first 3 characters of your receipt stand for the service center where you applied. For example an application submitted in the state of California will have a receipt number starting with WAC.

Commonly asked questions about H1B visa

How many H1 visas can a person have?

There is no limit for number of H1 Visas. You may have any number of H1 visas.

What is H1 approval and what is a Visa? How many H1 approvals can a person have?

The visa is a permit to enter into any foreign country for a specific time limit on a specific purpose. The H1 approval is the green paper (Form I-797). It is an approval stating that you can work legally for the company stated on the I797 form. A person can have multiple H1 approvals from various companies. However, at any given point of time, the visa can be stamped for one company only.

H1B-Visa is stamped for company A. Can a person work for company B?

Legally no, unless you have the H1 approved petition for company B

Is H1B-Visa transfer possible?

Yes, the H1 transfer is possible. The applicant has to be physically present in US for the visa transfer process to be complete.
You will need your I-94 form and pay stubs from company A. Remember that visa transfer doesn't gets affected by H1-cap as it is already issued, and is transferable. All you need is the Company B to take care of all the paper work for transfer of H1B visa. You do not need the permission from Company A for visa transfer process.

How long am I allowed to stay in the US on H1B visa?

There is a limit of 6 years on the H1B visa. Conditions for staying on H1B visa for more than 6 years:

  • If you want to work in the U.S. for more than 6 years then you will have to stay outside the U.S. for at least one year. After that you may apply for the H1B and re-enter U.S.
  • If you have applied for the green card, ou may be eligible for extension beyond 6 yrs. The condition is that your labor should be pending for more than 365 days or that you have applied for 485/AOS.

Is there a fast track for H1B application processing?

Yes, your employer may file your H1 petition under Premium Processing. for an extra 1000$ fee.

Can you start your company, while on an H1B?

Yes, you can. But you can't form an S-Corporation. For that you have to be a citizen of US. There are many routes for starting your own company. The most effective route is to form a "Limited Liability Company (LLC).

  • You can find lots of companies on the internet that can do this.
  • They may charge you around 150-200$, and the procedure may take few days.
  • LLC can be a "Partnership Firm" or the liability protection as an "Incorporated Company".
  • You can be the Chairman or Director of the board, but you can't work for it, unless you have an H1 visa issued from that company. But, you can always hire a CEO for the company, who has a work permit (Green card or Citizen etc.).
  • For more information about LLCs please visit: http://www.llc.com/

Finding out the status of your Visa H1 extension, or any other pending issue with INS

Call INS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 for all information on H1 extension.