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When to apply for US work visas: NOW

March 08, 2007 16:52 IST
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You plan to work in the US. But first you must acquire an H-1B or work visa.

US visa expert Dr Arun Vakil chatted with readers who wanted information on this type of visa, on March 7.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the transcript.

Dr. Arun Vakil says, Greetings to all. 

The H-1B visa is for those who are eligible and seek temporary employment in America. Out of 65,000 annual quotas available for this category, 6,800 are given to Singapore and Chile under agreement with the US. This means really speaking, 58,200 visas are available for rest of the world and nearly half of this have been taken by Indian IT professionals over the last five years or more.

A total of 43,167 H1-B visas were issued to Indians in the US fiscal year 2006 which ended on September 30, 2006. US Government introduced another 20,000 H-1B visas for students graduating from the US universities annually and this too has been about half-filled with Indians. Indian IT professionals are on roll and those who fit into Specialty Occupation, as defined by law, can rock in America.

The quota is offered according to US fiscal year October 1 to September 30. This means that the 2008 quota will be available effective October 1, 2007, and filing of applications can be done 6 months in advance, that is, from April 1, 2007.

In other words, all preparations for H-1B by you or your legal advisor or employer must do NOW, to get set for April 2; because quota gets filled up very very fast. Going by last year's usage of H-1B visa (the quota got exhausted on May 26, 2006 less than two months after it opened on April 1, 2006), you can expect a flood of H-1B filings on April 01, 2007.

It is predicted that the H-1B quota will be exhausted very fast, maybe in weeks, if not days. The best way would be to file the H-1B visa applications on Friday, March 30, 2007, to reach USCIS on Monday, April 02, 2007.

KH asked, Hello Arun. I am working as a Analyst for 2 years after doing my PGDM. To update my domain knowledge, i am also persuning CFA. I would like to work in Investment Bank in USA. Can you suggest me what type of visa do i look for? and How to get the same? Thanks
Dr. Arun Vakil answers,  at 2007-03-07 15:58:03You could try for one of the Employment Visa categories given as 5 preferences. Read Gateway To America book to get details. H-1B may be difficult in your case to justify specialty occupation.

saji nair asked, Somebody was sayig that it is difficult to get from kuwait
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Not exactly. Depends on each case.

rameshs asked, hi, I work for a small US based company here in bangalore and i already have an offer from a US company who is going to process H1B for me this year. While granting H1B whther my current company matters, because i work for a mall company here.
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, It does not matter if you work for a small company so long as you are in same profession and doing work for which you have competence.

saji nair asked, actually i have applied for H1-B visa in US, presently i am working in kuwait, is there any difficulty to get visa from kuwait
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, No.

nitin asked, Hi, I am an Aerospace Engineer from IIT. What are the chances of getting H1B Visa for me to work in the Aviation field in US? Can you guide me about the oppurtunities and pros and cons of it? Thanks
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, If you can locate an employer interested in you, then he has to file a petition in the US. After USCIS approves, you can file H-1B from India. Locating an employer would be your responsibility. There are jobsites such as and to start with.

neogi asked, hello sir,me a civil engineer with 2 years work experience.can i get a work visa for us
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, If you have a speciality in your field, only then you are eligible.

surya asked, hi i have completed my degree after my college due to back logs will it be a factor in deciding my h1b visa application, will have a chance
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, In spite of backlog, if you have the required skill in which the US employer is interested and you otherwise qualify, you have a chance.

haseeb asked, hello sir, i am working for a MNC which is into IT hardware.I was looking out for job oppurtunities abroad and US would be the destination i was thinking can you help me how to go ahead with that.Only thing is i have to go there and look out for a job or what are all the alternatives available kindly guide me.
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, If you personally visit the US as a visitor and meet prospective employers, nothing like it. Otherwise use Internet and your contacts to locate employers. There are some job websites: There are useful websites called,,, and which interactively link H-1B job seekers and employers in the US. They would be useful to Indians, both in India and the US wanting to explore jobs through H-1B visas to the US. invites resumes from candidates which can be referred by prospective employers. Over 350 Indians have gone to the US through

rkhanda asked, For the Financial Year 2006-07, till date I have not deposited my Income Tax Return to Income Tax Department due to lost of some documents What is the last date of depositing the Income Tax Return in my case
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, As far as US Visa Officers are concerned, they would like to see last 3 years income-tax returns. There is no date of depositing as such, for them.

vishal.prabhakar asked, does an existing B1/B2 favour a candidate of much better prospect of acquiring an H1?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Not necessary. Individual merits and demand of the employer decides everything. Being on B1/B2 has one advantage, in that, you can personally visit the US and meet prospective employers in person which helps.

Ravi asked, Good Evening, I have h1b visa, My employer Is in NY, I would like to first land at CA to meet my brother. Will there be any problem at PORT-OF-ENTRY
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, No problem as long as you have ticket to show that you are going to your final destination, i.e. New York.

chaitanya asked, Hello Sir. I have a B1/B2 visa valid till Dec 2008, issued when I was working with my former employer, who proposed to send me on a business visit to New York. However, the visit did not materialize, and subsequently I joined another company. My question is - is the visa still valid, and do I have to inform the consulate that I have joined another company?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Since your visa is valid upto Dec 2008 and so you can travel accordingly. No need to inform anyone.

mansoor asked, Hello sir right now i m studing in Australia i want to migrate to U.s.a Not for studies but for settlement
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Try to get a job or marry a girl who has US citizenship.

mahesh asked, hello i am architect working in pune how can i get visa for working there
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Look for a job through web sites listed earlier.

Rajesh asked, Hi Arun.,I worked in H1B till April2006,can i apply for fresh H1B now for year 2007?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, After completition of one year, you can.

Rajesh asked, Hello.,Sir.I worked in USA for past 5+ years in H1B.And i came back in April 2006.Can i file a new H1B now.,as it's one year is elapsed?.Am i eligible for the new H1B?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Yes, you are.

Mahua asked, Hi, Me & my husband are in UK. My husband is a British Citizen and presently we are planning to migrate to US. I have my brother & his family on H1 in US. Can you please advise if myhusband needs to get a H1 or does US have different requirement for UK nationals.
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Work visa has same rules universally, irrespective of nationality or citizenship, in the US.

amolk asked, Sir , I have basic question . I want to go In US on Business Visa but want to know that is that country have threats to Indians or new comings in US ? can i live there without any problems ? can roam there freely on streets
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, No problem. There is no threat. You should not behave like a terrorist.

shan asked, if I get my H1B processed, is my wife eligible to work when she comes as dependant on me?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, She will get an H-4 dependent visa but cannot work.

karanam asked, Hello Arun, I am software engineer with a reputed firm. I had some H1B 221(g) queries stamp on my passport in 2005. My previous employer was not able to answer those queries and that petition is still pending. I am planning to apply for a fresh petition this Yr. What effect would my earlier queries stamp will have on this one? What are the chances of me getting through at the consulate?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, If you are applying for a new petition with a new employer, no problem. No effect of previous case.

saba asked, Hello Sir, I would like to know that once I get the visa how long will it be valid ? If I need to postpone my US trip by a year is it possible ?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, H-1B visa is given initially for the duration the employer wants. The maximum is 6 years.

jagtap asked, Hello, i am in Mumbai holding 10 year tourist visa of US. I want employment visa since i plan to resign and work in US. I am a commerce graduate . Kindly advice
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, You cannot get employment visa until you get employment from a US employer.

PUNGAL asked, hello sir,can i get a job in us as i have over 12 years cnc,cad/cam after my DME (diploma in mech engineering),what is the process?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Yes, but try to get an employer through web sites or friends. Reach out through

joe asked, Hi sir! is tere any chances for a Dentist to get a Work Visa to the USA either as a dental assisstant or dental hyginiest.? usually one has to write the ndbe exams to practice there..If someone[ a dentist settled there] offers me a Job, will I be able to get a Work Permit VIsa. Thankyou Sir..
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Until you pass the dental exam, no employer can hire you.

ammo asked, My H1B visa expired in jan2007. i am trying to get a business for my current company. getting visa will be easier or.......?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, You have to wait for one year before getting another H-1B. You can try B1-B2 for business.

pras asked, I am a telecom engineer in Mumbai I would like to get a job in US whats the way forward ??
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Visit job web sites given earlier.

Arijit asked, There are some consultants who are approaching me for filing of H1B Visa. How do i know whether they r genuine ? And they are asking for some deposit fee which ranges from 2000-4500 USD (varies with consultant). They also say that this money would be refunded after 6 months/1 year. I have around 2 years of work ex. Should I go for the consultants or try to find a company which directly sponsors me ?
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Be careful of consultants. Ideally, try for a reputed company for job. If not, screen the consultants by references to decide. Normally they charge 50 per cent of required fees. Anything more is not desirable.

Stranger asked, Dear Sir... I am more worried about this eligibility criteria.. (10+3) plus 6 yrs of experience of work.. Please answer my earlier query... Will be a great help.
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, You should have 16 years of education. If not, then 3 years of experience is equated to 1 year of education. If that fits in, you have a chance.

sunny asked, Hello Sir, I am MAHESH. I have applied for H1B Visa and my interview happened on 07-Sep-2006 at 0930 hrs. After the interview the consulate informed me that i have got the visa. But on the same evening when i went to collect my passport, on the visa page "cancelled without prejudice" stamp was there and inside the same envelope i found a letter saying "your application is put in the PENDING list and somebody from the consulate will call you". It's been 6 months now and i have not yet got call from the consulate. Is there any way around apart from just waiting ? Can i cancel the application and reapply again ??
Dr. Arun Vakil answers, Wrong type of employers, fictitious paper companies in the US and non-availability of genuine character of the company can lead to visa denial. Once a sales girl was filed as an accountant with specialised knowledge, who was easily identified and denied visa. Often, Officers find that H-1B visa applicants who have obtained an H-1B petition approval and have the appropriate credentials are unable to articulate the job duties or the position in which they intend to work in the US. This creates a problem because it is important to be able to explain one's job duties clearly to the Officer to avoid any potential fraud or misrepresentation issue regarding eligibility. With the mandatory personal interview, confident and prompt replies to questions posed by Consular Officers are more important than ever before. Best is to reapply with another employer.

Tomorrow: Part II of transcript

Dr Arun Vakil has an MBA from the University of California, USA, and a PhD, partly from the University of Wyoming USA and University of Mumbai. He is an expert on US visa regulations. He conducts orientation courses for students going to the US; these courses are organised by various organisations in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and North Gujarat. He also delivers lectures on US visas and immigration laws and has  authored the book Gateway to America, in 1984 and subsequently four editions were brought out, the last in 2006.

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