Frequently Asked Questions Regarding H-1B Obligations and the Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- What is an H-1B?
How do I apply for an H-1B visa?
- An employer seeking to employ a foreign worker temporarily in a specialty occupation uses
the H-1B program. Specialty occupations require theoretical and practical application of
a body of highly specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
Examples include architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, medicine and
health, education, and business specialties, etc. H-1B is also used for fashion models of
distinguished merit ability.
Must I file the LCA online?
- The H-1B visa classification requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. The employer must
file a labor condition application (Form ETA 9035) with the DOL. The application includes
declarations including payment of prevailing wages for the position and working conditions
offered. The employer must then file an
petition with the USCIS and, unless specifically exempted under law, pay filing fees. Based
on USCIS petition approval, the foreign worker may apply for the H-1B visa, admission or a
change of nonimmigrant status.
Can I file the LCA by fax?
- Yes. Employers are required to file LCAs electronically using the Department's LCA Online System.
The LCA Online System allows employers or their agents, who intend to employ alien worker(s) for a
temporary period in professional occupations or as fashion models, the ability to file LCAs (Form ETA
9035E) electronically via the website.
Can I file the LCA by U.S. mail?
- No. The Department no longer accepts LCAs that are filed by fax.
How long will it take to receive the certification or denial?
- No. The only exceptions are for employers with physical disabilities that prohibit them from filing
electronic applications or employers without internet access. These employers must submit a written request
to file their LCA by U.S. mail prior to submitting an application. The request should be addressed to:
Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Employment & Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Is there a way to check on the status of a case?
- The Online application system will automatically determine, within minutes,
if the submitted LCA is certified or denied based on information that was entered.
Can an H-1B worker change employers?
- If you do not receive a determination within 10 business days, you should resubmit the application.
How long can a foreign worker remain in an H-1B status?
- Yes, if the H-1B worker has a new petitioning employer. For more information, you should contact USCIS.
Must an H-1B worker be employed full time?
- Under current law, a foreign worker may be in H-1B status for a maximum period of
Can a foreign worker travel outside the U.S. while under an H-1B status?
- An H-1B worker may work full or part-time and remain in status, depending upon the attestations made on the LCA.
Can an H-1B status worker immigrate permanently to the U.S.?
- The USCIS regulates the rights of an H-1B worker. For more information, you should contact USCIS.
How can I get H-1B Disclosure Information?
- An H-1B foreign worker may be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition, apply for
adjustment of status, or take other steps toward lawful permanent residence in the
U.S. This is known as "dual intent" and has been recognized in immigration law since
passage of the Immigration Act of 1990.
How do I file an H-1B complaint?
- Complaints should be filed with the Wage and Hour office which has jurisdiction over the physical
location of the employer. Check the 'blue pages' in the local telephone book or
The form to file a complaint (Form WH-4) can be downloaded at
Complaints on not fulfilling the attestations and pay go to Wage and Hour, while complaints of fraudulent or
misrepresented applications (e.g. the company does not exist or never employs the individuals, or someone who is
not a representative of the employer signs the application) go to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) which then
generally works with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to
investigate. Wage and Hour will forward fraud cases appropriately.
| Last accessed: February 7, 2009.
Information on this website is provided for information purposes only, and its presentation herein neither creates an attorney-client privilege nor constitutes legal advice.