Apply H1B Visa Documents CheckList ? Cost ? What NOT to give ?

Applying for H1B visa could be a very lengthy process and could be very tricky. There are many people back in India that can ask you for stuff you do not need and lock them with you. I will try to explain documents needed, exact cost and what you should not do in this article.

Very important. What you should NOT give to H1B sponsoring company?

Consultancies sometimes trick you if you do not know the process. They ask you for original certificates, passport and all other originals. You should NEVER give original documents of mark sheets, passport or any other documents to anyone. Promise me, you will NEVER give any originals!  You will need to carry the originals when you go for visa stamping, but not for applying.  Most of the times, USCIS will not ask for originals. There are always some exceptions and if they ask, please ask your H1B filing consultant to show you exactly what they got from USCIS and then only submit if needed.   If you give the originals, you are stuck with the employer who filed. DO NOT give any originals.

Checklist of documents required for applying H1B :

This is a very high level checklist for applying for H1B. There may be some exceptions, but for the most part, here is what you need :
  • Copy of all educational certificates of your Bachelors (also Masters if applicable) degree including mark sheets.
  • Copy of Degree award certificates
  • Copy of Passport- all pages
  • If degree from US, Transcript and degree award certificate.
  • If degree from US, Copy of I-20
  • If you are in US, copy of I-94
  • Copy of latest Resume.
  • Work experience certificates (if any )
  • If you already have a H1B approval, copy of previous H1B approval notice, I-797 form.
  • If you are transferring H1B, copy of recent 3 months paystubs from your previous employer
  • If you have any evaluation reports from work, copy of them too.
  • If you have lived in US and paid taxes, copy of previous W2 tax forms.
  • If you have lived in US, copy of your driving license or state ID
  • If you have lived in US and have SSN, copy of your Social Security Card.
  • If you have done education evaluation, copy of the education evaluations too.

How much does filing H1B really Cost?

Many of the consultancies tell fake stories and may trick you asking for huge sums of money. But, here is the blatant truth of how much does it actually cost.
Base filing fee$325
(American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998)
$750  ( For employers with 1 to 25)
$1,500 ( For employers with 26 or    more full time equivalent employee )
Fraud prevent & detection fee$500
Fee based on Public Law 111 – 230
Read H1B fee $2000 rule to check if it applies to your case
Premium processing fee$1,225 (If you intend to do premium)
You should check USCIS website for correct H1B filing fee, as they revise fee every year or 6 months.
The above details are exactly taken from USCIS website listing Hints for filing H1B-Cap Case You can check USICS for additional info and more details. USCIS: Frequent errors on H1B filing where USCIS have to deny or reject the petition.
Attorney fee is something that employer will incur and may be charged. It can be anywhere from $400 to $800. It all depends on the attorney.  All in all, you should not be tricked by too much fee asked by employer filing for H1B. In fact, as an employee you should not pay any fee for H1B petition it is your prospective employers responsibility to pay for the expense for H1B filing…
Overall, do NOT be tricked by your H1B filing consultancy. Think, ask and then act accordingly!