Is it possible to get H-1B visa authorization in the first year?

Hey guys I am an international student starting work at a large boutique this July, which thankfully has agreed to sponsor my work Visa. The Visa allotment process starts April 1st, but my employer is saying that they cannot file for a Visa unless and until I provide them with some proof of graduation (which I cannot do until I graduate in about 3 months). I am not sure how quickly the visas run out, but if it does, I may have to start work on OPT authorization this year, and apply for the Visa next year.

My question to any international students working in the U.S.- were any of you able to get your H-1B Visa in the same year you graduated? If so, how were you able to get your proof of gradation to your employer before graduating (assuming you couldn't graduate before April 1st).

Or is pretty routine to have to start off on OPT for one year, and apply for the Visa the following year?

Finally how quickly do the visas run out-anyone know?

Comments (21)

Feb 14, 2014

This never happens. Everyone I know started working on OPT after graduation, and then applied for H1B Visa the next year.

I think it's simply not possible to apply this year. Cap will be filled up by the first week of April, and you CAN NOT apply then since you don't have a Bachelor's Degree.

On the visa quotas, here's how it works: There are 65,000 visas available. (Actually less than that because of Free Trade commitments with Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Singapore. Some visas are reserved for these countries, so good for you if you are from one of them). So what happens in people start putting in applications on April 1. They usually take in applications for a few days. (You can check past records, but I am guessing they won't take applications past April 5).

Let's say they receive 100,000 H1B petitions in this period. They will do a simple lottery to give out the available 65,000 Visas.

Feb 14, 2014

Thanks. So basically icap fills up so fast that one has to file by 1st April?

Feb 14, 2014
InternationalStudent:

Thanks. So basically icap fills up so fast that one has to file by 1st April?

Yes, make sure you file on April 1, 2015. Apply for OPT now. Put the same start date as your first day at work.

Feb 14, 2014

Thank you! By the way have you been through this process yourself? Do you know if the lottery is completely random? Or does the employer matter?

Feb 14, 2014

Completely random.

Feb 14, 2014

I was on F1 and started as an analyst in 2010 on H1b, so yes, it is possible to get H1b the year you graduate. My H1b was approved April of my senior year and my graduation was in May. You still need to have OPT to get you from July to October. Fragomen was the law firm used by my bank then.

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Feb 14, 2014

How did Fragomen file your Visa application in April if you graduated in May? My firm's lawyers told me that I need to provide them with proof of graduation before they can file my application with USCIS.

What documents did you provide them to prove you were graduated? My school refuses to issue any letter until I have completed my curriculum and received letter grades

Feb 14, 2014

Everyone I know starts on OPT and then applies for H-1B. Most likely your OPT will expire, and you will be eligible to apply for the "OPT Cap Gap Extension". See here: http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/training/f-1/cap-gap (or find a similar page for your own school).

Feb 14, 2014

Maybe he had 120 credits already.

Highly unlikely that USCIS will approve a petition from a candidate who doesn't have a college degree.

Or this guy is misinforming us.

Feb 17, 2014

Yep, OPT first from what I've seen...

Feb 17, 2014

You can only get the H1B Visa in the first year if you graduate in the Fall Semester (December 2013 or January 2014). If you are a regular May graduate then you will have to use OPT and apply the next year because the 65,000 cap will most likely be filled within a few days.

Feb 25, 2014

Fragomen are good, but they can't circumvent US immigration law.

Feb 17, 2014

I'm working with Fragomen now. They specifically requested my college diploma, which I didn't have since I'm graduating in May. Had a call to talk about it, and we all agreed that OPT then H1B'15 is the way to go.

Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

Feb 25, 2014

@"chanky"

Care to explain?

Feb 17, 2014

If you graduated from undergrad and are now in master's program, you can have an H1B while you are still in GRAD SCHOOL

Feb 25, 2014

Apologies for being away from the forums and not being able to clarify things. Whether you believe it or not it's up to you, but I did get the H1B approval before my graduation. My school did not issue anything to assist in the process and I couldn't register for the CFA level 2 exam because of this reason.

Aside from transcripts, passports and other key items, Fragomen specifically required an I-20 with OPT endorsement and my EAD card to file the H1B.

Mongoose was right in that I have more than 120 undergrad credits. In fact I already had 154 college credits at that time. Not sure if this would be a factor but either way my school did not issue a document stating I will graduate in May.

Feb 25, 2014

Mongoose how would you like to have a bet that I'm not lying? I can obviously post my H1B approval notice and a letter of graduation issued in May (redacted except part of my name). How much would you bet in escrow on it?

Things could've changed since 2010 and it actually wouldn't have affected me anyway since the cap was filled as late as Dec 2010. I just wanted to share my experience to help fellow international students. In fact I got my H1B at CS in April, and joined Citi along with my team when they jumped ship before training started. I moved to corporate development and my employer is now sponsoring my green card. I probably have way more experience than any of you folks here in dealing with the US immigration process.

Feb 25, 2014

I should not have used the world "lie." Sorry about that.

What I was trying to say is that I have a LOT of friends who are going through this process of getting an H1, and from what I have read/heard that doesn't seem to be possible.

Maybe the 120 credits was the deciding factor in your case - I don't know, but I am still sure that USCIS will not approve a I-129 petition without a valid 4 year degree.

I have personally not dealt with I-129, but I have gone through other US Immigration processes, so I am well acquainted with immigration issues in the US.

Also, look at Page 5:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/for...

Mar 3, 2017
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