Streamlined H-1B Process: USCIS Introduces Online Filing for Simplified Application

USCIS Introduces Online Filing for Simplified Application

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently unveiled a series of enhancements to the H-1B visa program to streamline processes for organisations and their legal representatives. These improvements, set to launch in February 2024, coincide with the FY 2025 H-1B cap season and promise increased efficiency, reduced errors, and time-saving benefits for petitioners and USCIS.

Organisational Accounts for Enhanced Collaboration:

Central to the upgrades are organisational accounts, which enable multiple users within a company or legal team to collaborate on H-1B registrations and petitions. This innovative feature eliminates the need for stakeholders to manage tasks individually, fostering seamless collaboration and improved accuracy in the application process.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for the H-1B Visa?

  • Occupation Requirement:
    • The applicant must be offered a position in a speciality occupation that typically requires a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • Employer Sponsorship:
    • An employer in the United States must sponsor the applicant for the H-1B visa.
    • The employer must submit a petition (Form I-129) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the applicant.
  • Educational Qualifications:
    • The applicant must possess a bachelor's degree or higher in a relevant field from an accredited institution.
    • In some cases, relevant work experience may substitute for formal education.
  • Specialty Occupation:
    • The job offered to the applicant must qualify as a speciality occupation.
    • This typically includes IT, engineering, science, finance, medicine, and education roles.
  • Employer-Employee Relationship:
    • The employer must demonstrate a legitimate employer-employee relationship with the applicant.
    • This includes providing terms of employment, supervision, and payment of wages consistent with U.S. labour laws.
  • Prevailing Wage Requirement:
    • The employer must agree to pay the prevailing wage for the offered position in the geographic area of employment.
    • The prevailing wage is determined based on job duties, location, and applicant qualifications.
  • Non-immigrant Intent:
    • The applicant must demonstrate non-immigrant intent, meaning they intend to enter the U.S. temporarily for employment purposes and plan to return to their home country after the expiration of the visa.
  • Specialty Occupation Certification:
    • The employer may be required to obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL), certifying that the H-1B employment meets specific labour standards and conditions.
  • Limited Visa Cap:
    • The H-1B visa program has an annual numerical cap on the number of visas issued.
    • Applicants must apply during the designated filing period and be selected through a lottery system if the number of applicants exceeds the visa cap.
  • No Barred Grounds of Inadmissibility:
    • Applicants must not be barred from entering the United States based on grounds of inadmissibility, such as criminal history, immigration violations, or health-related issues.

How do you file an online H-1B visa for a paperless workflow?

USCIS is embracing digitalisation by introducing online filing for Forms I-129 and I-907, marking a significant step towards a paperless workflow. This transition eliminates the need for physical paperwork submissions, saving time and resources for both petitioners and USCIS. The entire H-1B lifecycle will now be conducted online, from registration to final decision, enhancing efficiency and convenience.

This form filing includes the following steps:

  • Create USCIS Account:
    1. Visit the USCIS website and create an account if you don't have one.
    2. Provide necessary personal information and create login credentials.
  • Access Online Filing System:
    1. Log in to your USCIS account.
    2. Navigate to the H-1B visa application section.
  • Fill Out Form I-129:
    1. Select the H-1B visa category and start filling out Form I-129.
    2. Input personal details, employment information, and other required data accurately.
  • Upload Supporting Documents:
    1. Scan and upload supporting documents, including passport, educational certificates, and job offer letter.
    2. Ensure documents meet USCIS formatting and size requirements.
  • Review and Edit:
    1. Review all entered information and uploaded documents for accuracy.
    2. Make any necessary edits or corrections before proceeding.
  • Pay Fees:
    1. Pay the required application fees using a valid payment method.
    2. USCIS accepts various payment options, including credit/debit cards and bank transfers.
  • Submit Application:
    1. Once all sections are completed and fees are paid, apply.
    2. Receive a confirmation notice with a receipt number upon successful submission.
  • Monitor Application Status:
    1. Log in to your USCIS account regularly to check the status of your application.
    2. USCIS provides updates on application processing timelines and any additional documentation required.
  • Attend Biometrics Appointment (if applicable):
    1. If requested by USCIS, schedule and attend a biometrics appointment at a designated location.
    2. Provide fingerprints, photographs, and other biometric data as part of the application process.
  • Await Decision:
    1. USCIS will process your application and notify you of the decision.
    2. If approved, USCIS will issue the H-1B visa or request further action if necessary.
  • Receive Visa and Travel to the US:
    1. Upon approval, receive the H-1B visa stamp on your passport.
    2. Use the visa to travel to the United States and commence employment with the sponsoring employer.

How USCIS simplifies the H-1B process?

USCIS simplifies by doing some chances in their procedure like: 

  1. Centralised Paper Filing: USCIS is consolidating paper filings for Forms I-129 and I-907 to a central lockbox to streamline processes and cut costs.
  2. H-1B Visa Engagement Sessions: USCIS will conduct nationwide sessions, including smaller events before the H-1B registration period, to assist users with setting up organisational accounts.
  3. Extended Online Application for H-1B Visas: USCIS is broadening its range of forms available for online submission. Stay updated on the "Forms Available to File Online" page for the latest developments."

Benefits of H-1B visa for All Stakeholders:

These enhancements offer numerous benefits for employers, legal representatives, and USCIS.

  •  Employers can expect a streamlined registration and petition process, reduced errors, and easier collaboration. 
  • Legal representatives will enjoy enhanced client service through improved cooperation and online tools. 
  • USCIS stands to gain increased efficiency, reduced processing times, and improved data accuracy, ultimately leading to a more user-friendly H-1B experience for all involved.

What mistakes do we have to avoid while applying for H-1B visa?

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for an H-1B Visa: 

  • Missing Application Deadlines:
    • Please submit the H-1B visa petition during the designated filing period to avoid missing out on the annual visa cap or facing delays in processing.
  • Incomplete or Inaccurate Documentation:
    • Providing complete or accurate information in the visa application, such as incorrect job details, educational qualifications, or employment history, can lead to application rejection or delays.
  • Not Meeting Specialty Occupation Criteria:
    • Applying for a job that does not qualify as a speciality occupation or lacks the required educational background can result in a visa denial.
  • Insufficient Employer-Employee Relationship Evidence:
    • Failing to provide adequate documentation demonstrating a bona fide employer-employee relationship, including supervision, terms of employment, and payment details, can raise concerns during the application process.
  • Not Paying the Prevailing Wage:
    • Offering a salary below the prevailing wage for the job location and position can lead to the denial of the H-1B visa petition.
  • Lack of Non-immigrant Intent:
    • Failing to demonstrate non-immigrant intent, such as having ties to the home country or intending to return after the visa expires, can raise doubts about the applicant's eligibility for the visa.
  • Failure to Obtain Labor Condition Application (LCA):
    • Employers must obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL) before filing the H-1B visa petition. Not obtaining or properly filing the LCA can result in application rejection.
  • Not Adhering to Visa Regulations:
    • Violating visa regulations, such as working for an unauthorised employer or beyond the approved job scope, can lead to visa revocation, deportation, or future visa ineligibility.
  • Inadequate Preparation for Visa Interview:
    • Please prepare adequately for the visa interview, including understanding visa regulations, job details, and employer information, to ensure a positive outcome.
  • Overlooking Changes in Visa Policies:
  • Not staying updated with changes in visa policies, regulations, or filing requirements can lead to application errors or omissions that may affect visa approval.

USCIS Support and Resources:

  • Information on USCIS resources is available to assist applicants with online filing.
  • Links to relevant web pages and guidance documents.
  • Contact information for USCIS support services.


With these innovative changes, USCIS is paving the way for a more efficient and user-friendly H-1B experience. Stakeholders are encouraged to attend upcoming engagement sessions and subscribe to public engagement notifications for further updates. These improvements underscore USCIS's commitment to enhancing customer experience and modernising immigration processes to benefit all stakeholders involved in the H-1B program.


  • What are the benefits of H-1B visas?

H-1B visas enable U.S. employers to access highly skilled talent, fostering innovation and economic growth while providing foreign workers career opportunities in the United States.

  • Who is eligible for an H-1B visa?

Eligibility for an H-1B visa typically requires a job offer from a U.S. employer for a speciality occupation role, possession of the necessary qualifications, such as a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience, and sponsorship by the employer.

  • What are the H-1B visa requirements?

H-1B visa requirements include having a job offer for a speciality occupation, possessing the required qualifications, such as a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and receiving sponsorship from a U.S. employer.

  • How much do H-1B visas cost?

The cost of an H-1B visa includes various fees, such as the filing fee, anti-fraud fee, and premium processing fee, totalling around $4,000 to $7,000, depending on factors like the size of the employer and whether expedited processing is requested.

  • What is the H-1B visa processing time?

The processing time for an H-1B visa application can vary widely, ranging from a few weeks to several months, depending on factors such as the workload of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the complexity of the case, and whether premium processing is requested.

  • How do I file for an H-1B visa online?

To file for an H-1B visa online, employers or their authorised representatives typically complete and submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, electronically through the USCIS website's Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).

  • What are common H-1B visa mistakes to avoid?

Common mistakes to avoid when applying for an H-1B visa include incomplete documentation, not meeting the speciality occupation requirement, insufficient evidence of qualifications, missing deadlines, and errors in the labour condition application (LCA).