What is a H-1B3 Visa?

H-1B3 visas allow individuals who are prominent fashion models to temporarily work in the United States.

Who is Eligible for a H-1B3 Visa?

In order to qualify for a H-1B3 visa, the applicant must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability and must be travelling to the United States for the purpose of working temporarily in the United States as a fashion model.

What is the Process for Obtaining a H-1B3 Visa?

The process for obtaining a H-1B3 visa is an employer-driven process, which means the applicant’s employer or potential employer must initiate the visa process by filing a petition on the applicant’s behalf. Because there is a cap to the amount of H-1B3 visas the government issues each year, there is a selection process conducted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Obtaining a H-1B visa ultimately depends on successful selection through this process, often referred to as a “lottery.”

The steps to apply for a H-1B3 visa are described below.

Step One: Register for the Lottery with the USCIS

Creating an account through the USCIS’ electronic registration process is the first, required step necessary to be eligible for selection for a H-1B3 visa under the lottery. Employers or their attorneys may create an account with USCIS, which allows them to submit basic information about the employer and any potential employees.

The registration period begins on March 2nd at 12pm EST, when registrants can create an account. On March 9th, H-1B registration period opens at 12pm EST and ends on March 25th at 12pm EST. The USCIS will notify selected registrants on March 31st. Selected registrants may begin filing on April 1st.

Step Two: When H-1B3 Applicant is Selected

Employers can file the H-1B3 petition only IF their applicant is selected in the lottery. While selected applicants can begin filing the necessary forms on April 1st, the earliest an employer or potential employer can initiate the visa process is 6 months prior to the employment date stated on the petition or 6 months prior to the expiration date of your current H-1B3 status.

The usual processing time for a H-1B3 visa to become active is 60-90 days, though this can be expedited to at most 15 days if a $2,500 premium processing fee is paid. The premium processing fee is refunded if the processing time lasts longer than 15 days.

Step Three: File a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor

To begin the application process, the H-1B3 visa applicant’s employer must submit a LCA with the Department of Labor by filing Form 9035 through the Department’s FLAG System. An LCA must not be submitted more than 6 months before the employment start date. The FLAG System allows applicants to check the status of their applications at any time.

The Labor Department will review the submitted LCA within seven working days to assess for completeness and any inaccuracies or errors. The FLAG System allows applicants to check the status of their applications at any time.

Once the LCA is certified, the employer may continue to assist the H-1B3 applicant in obtaining his or her visa.

Step Four: File Form I-129

After the Labor Condition Application is certified by the Department of Labor, the applicant’s employer or potential employer must then complete a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker via form I-129. The employer or potential employer must submit form I-129 and the certified Labor Condition Application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as any fees and additional documentation that confirms your education level, certification, licensure, professional qualifications, employment or potential employment, and support from the employer or potential employer.

If the applicant is already in the United States, after the form I-129 is approved, the applicant can only begin working once your H-1B visa status becomes active.

Applicants Not in the United States

If the applicant is not in the United States at the time you form I-129 is approved, the applicant must take necessary steps to lawfully enter the United States so he or she may begin working. To do so, the applicant must first complete Form DS-160 online, pay the application fee, and schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy nearest to them.

At the applicant’s interview, he or she must have certain documents with them, including:

  • Their passport
  • a printed copy of the confirmation page from the completed Form DS-160
  • a copy of their approved form I-129 and I-797 approval (issued previously when form I-129 application was approved)
  • receipts proving application fees are paid and a passport-sized photo of the applicant that conforms with U.S. Department of State photo requirements.