Is it a Requirement to Hire an Immigration Attorney when I am Applying for the H1B Visa?
Your H1B sponsor (employer) will be taking care of the petition and application process. Even the sponsor does not technically have to hire an attorney and may file the visa without one. However, due to the complexity of the process and administrative changes, as a sponsor, it is advisable to hire an attorney, especially for first-time sponsors unfamiliar with the process.
When Might an Attorney Make a Difference when I Apply for the H1B Visa?
As per federal regulations, sponsors of an employee applying for the H1B visa are always responsible for all fees relating to the visa process except for the optional premium processing fee. The sponsor is also responsible for the attorney’s fees unless you are also applying for an H-4 dependent for a spouse or child. If you, as the beneficiary employee decide to hire another attorney in addition to the one your sponsor already hired, then you will be responsible for that attorney’s fee(s). If your sponsor has decided not to hire an attorney, this is a circumstance where hiring one and paying the expenses on your own would likely be beneficial. This is because federal regulations are constantly changing significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and court rulings. Whether there is a minute or significant change in federal regulation, it is always better to have an experienced immigration lawyer oversee your process, double check your application, and guide you to guarantee no errors. Keep in mind that if your sponsor hires an attorney and you decide to do so as well, your sponsor’s attorney will be the one to file everything since the sponsor is the petitioner and you are the beneficiary.
What Would an Immigration Attorney be Responsible for During the H1B Process?
An immigration attorney experienced with the H1B application process will have no problem saving you time, energy, and ensuring that you have the best chance of a successful application. When you hire an attorney for this process, they will go over the overall process and timeline with you and your employer, so you know what to expect and are thoroughly prepared. Furthermore, the immigration attorney would also be responsible for (among other things) conducting the initial H1B registration, following up on lottery results, obtaining the most current and prevailing wage for your job or occupation, completing and the petition along with all supporting evidence with the USCIS, and responding to any requests for evidence from the USCIS.