By: Rabell Afridi
I speak from personal experience when I say filing an H1B petition is no easy task. The irony is that I work as a legal assistant for Shah Peerally Law Group. Even after being trained in the H1B process by an immigration attorney, the whole process seemed like learning a completely different language to me. Terms like mid-vendor letters, support letters, itineraries didn’t make any sense to me; I felt like a deer in the headlights. The average person obviously does not receive any formal training on H1B cases so I can only imagine how much more confused they would be. It took me a couple cases under the supervision of the attorney to even basically understand how to file the case. This is why I definitely do not suggest that individuals file their own H1B’s because there are so many aspects to the case and therefore so many opportunities to make mistakes. Here are 10 specific reasons why I suggest you hire an attorney to take care of your H1B petition:
- Employment/Employer qualification: The first step for filing an H1B is seeing if both employer and employee qualify. So, how do you even know if you are qualified to file an H1b? More importantly, how do you know if your employer is qualified to file an H1B for you? There are many requirements for both beneficiary and petitioner when applying for an H1B. Someone who is not experienced with these necessary qualifications will not be able to make sure they meet them. It is a safer alternative to speak with an attorney because the attorney has worked with so many different employers/employees and therefore knows what standards to look for.
- Lots of documents: H1B’s require lots of various documents. How can one be sure what documents to include? Passport pages with all visa stamps, I-94 (entry stamp), business license of company; these are just some of the necessary documents for an H1B petition. Even if there is a list of these required documents on some website, one has to make sure that the documents are submitted exactly how USCIS wants them. This is the difficult task that should be done under the proper supervision.
- LCA (Labor Certification Authorization): Most people aren’t even sure what an LCA is, so how to file it is probably completely alien to them. The LCA is to be filed prior to the H1B petition and takes about one week to be approved. It is quite a lengthy application requiring many details on both employer and employee. Moreover, once it is completed the LCA has to be sent to the petitioning company in the form of a public access file so that the company can post details on the H1B candidate and job on a public posting site. Someone who is not familiar with this process can be extremely overwhelmed by the LCA which is just the beginning of the H1B process. So it’s important to make sure it’s done by an attorney who is experienced with it.
- Dependents: The process is even more complicated if you are married with children and would like to claim them as dependents. This requires additional forms and documentation. Since it’s so essential that your loved ones are also taken care of, it’s important to make sure that their forms and documents are properly taken care of.
- Letters of support: Certain employers have more than one vendor involved in the petition so it is necessary to gather various letters from all mid-vendors in addition to the end client. These letters are difficult to obtain on your own. Moreover, there is a template that should be used to ensure the letters are written out properly and therefore considered acceptable by USCIS.
- Out of the Country: If you live in another country, the process becomes even more difficult because the access to this information is even harder to attain and resources aren’t as readily available. With email access and skype calls, it’s much easier to communicate with the attorney and provide all necessary documentation as oppose to compiling the petition on your own.
- Premium Processing: If you would like to speed up the processing of you application, there is an additional form that needs to be filled out. Many clients prefer to go this route to ensure they get a quicker response. However, this means another form needs to be filled out which essentially is another opportunity for mistakes. This is why it’s better for an attorney to take care of all forms for you.
- Checks: There can be multiple filing fees involved in your petition depending on the nature of the company and the petition. Certain fees in addition to the filing fee for the I-129 application are Fraud and detection fees, ACWIA fees, H4 dependent fees, etc. If you file a petition and accidentally forget to include a check for a required fee, your entire petition will be returned which wastes a lot of time and can have serious consequences during H1B Cap season. That’s why it’s better to have an attorney who is familiar with all these fees advise you on what you need to provide.
- Motion to appeal/ Request for further Evidence: If your case is denied, how do you know how to appeal properly without the help of an attorney? In fact, why not try to avoid receiving a denial in the first place by hiring an attorney so you can ensure you are taken care of? Same thing goes for receiving an RFE, how do you know how to compile the RFE without the help of an attorney? Again why not try your best to avoid the hassle of an RFE by ensuring that everything is done by an experienced attorney?
- Time is money: Life is already hectic and complicated as it is so who has the time to compile an entire petition especially when you’re not getting paid for the work? The H1B process is not only a time-consuming process but it also requires attention to very miniscule details that can’t be overlooked. One mistake on a form or document and your entire petition can be denied.
I hope that these 10 basic reasons demonstrate how essential it is to hire an attorney to have the most successful experience with the H1B petition. An H1B is not an easy task and should not be taken lightly. It’s vital that to have an attorney who pays attention to detail file your petition so that nothing is missed. Contact a law firm to handle your H1B for your own sake so the process goes smoothly. Since H1B cap is just around the corner I would suggest contacting them soon. If you want the work in safe hands, give us a call at Shah Peerally Law Group at 510-742-5887 or email us at [email protected]law.com and we will take care of you.