The USA has always been a popular, and for many a dream destination to live and work in for a variety of reasons. US Companies recruit and hire thousands of workers from around the World every year; to fill job positions when they can not find enough local based talent to fill all the jobs they have. If you are a foreign national who obtains a job offer from a US Company, the next step is to obtain the proper work visa so you can legally work (and live) in the USA. One of the most popular work visas for skilled professionals and for International students and graduates, is the H1B visa.

To work in the USA and obtain a work visa, Foreign nationals have to be ‘sponsored’ for employment, through the US immigration system, by a US Company. Many Companies sponsor Foreign nationals for H1B Visas for a variety of skilled professions and occupations.  However, unfortunately many US Companies don’t, so it’s beneficial to know up front and at the start, before you go through the job search, recruitment and interview process to get the job offer – if the Company is actually willing to sponsor and file for an H1B visa, or not?

Here’s 10 tips about H1B visa requirements, recruitment and sponsorship, and other important aspects of successfully getting through “the process”:

1. EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE MATTERS THE MOST

A 4 year Bachelor’s degree is the usually the minimum requirement to apply for H1B visa, and get one approved. For anyone that does not possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, the alternative way of qualifying to meet the H1B visa requirements; is by having 12 years of progressive work experience in a skilled profession. Normally 3 years of work experience is considered equivalent to 1 year of university credit, so to match the 4 year Bachelors degree it requires 12 or more years work experience to qualify for an H1B visa. Unfortunately, for anyone who goes through the process of getting a job offer and applying for an H1B visa, without meeting the requirements, they will end up with their application being denied.

2. FIND THE RIGHT JOB THAT QUALIFIES FOR H1B APPROVAL

In addition to the qualification requirements for individuals and Companies, there are also qualification requirements for the type and the level of jobs that qualify to get an H1B visa approved. Having a degree or work experience is not enough, you also need to find the right jobs that qualify too. The main requirements are; that the job must directly relate to your degree/specialty field, and must require at least a Bachelor degree, or if a degree is Not required, then 12 years experience to perform the job. Therefore, it definitely makes sense to look for and only apply to positions that require your type of degree and/or qualifying experience, to help you avoid having the H1B visa petition denied because the job you have an offer for, does not qualify to get an H1B visa approved.

3. TARGET YOUR SEARCH TO H1B SPONSOR COMPANIES

There are typically two separate groups of Companies in the USA; those that do and are willing to sponsor a Foreign national and file a H1B visa for them, and, those that do not and will not. When searching on the web it’s almost impossible at first glance to know which are which, and without a Company willing to sponsor you for an H1B visa, there’s no way of getting an H1B visa. That’s why it’s much better to research and find sponsor companies at the start, and to focus and target your applications to these Companies (avoiding all the wasted time and applications to Companies that do not sponsor). The big question is, how do you find sponsor companies? There’s a couple of ways that help make this normally very time consuming stage much quicker and easier for you. One is to use databases and apply to sponsor companies yourself, and the other is to use specialty Companies in the industry who apply to sponsors for you (although this type of service where someone else is doing the work to apply for you normally costs quite a bit more than the database option, so the choice really comes down to if you want to spend the required time and effort, or the extra money).

4. IT REQUIRES TIME, EFFORT AND WORK

Start applying for the jobs with prospective sponsor companies in the USA at the earliest. Finding, applying, and getting recruited and selected for a position with a sponsor company takes time (normally a Lot longer than in your home Country where you don’t need a company to sponsor you and file a visa for you, for a job). It can take many months for most people, and for those that do not target their search effectively it will often take many many more months (or even years).  The recruitment season when Companies actively recruit and select candidates for regular cap H1B visas is between September and April so this is when you should do everything you can to make the most of your opportunity (for cap-exempt H1B visas it’s all year round, see the next tip below).

5. CONSIDER THE ALL-YEAR-ROUND CAP-EXEMPT H1B PROGRAM

Many organizations and universities in the USA are considered ‘cap-exempt’ which means they are not subject to the regular H1B visa caps and lottery system that are only available once per year, in April, for filing H1B visas. These special cap-exempt H1B organizations can recruit, hire, and sponsor any number of foreign workers they want, and file for H1B cap-exempt visas at any time during the year. Cap-exempt is a great extra way to get an H1B, especially after all the regular cap H1B visas have been applied for in April.

6. IT’S SMART TO GET HELP TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM

Moving to and obtaining a work visa for the USA results in many personal, lifestyle, and career benefits. It’s a big deal and a life changer for many people, so if you really want to make the best of your opportunity and do everything the right way, get help and get all the advantages and benefits you can, in every beneficial way you can. Getting help ultimately goes a long way to helping you achieve your goal.