Singapore H1B1 Tips

Aug 2019 edit: I don’t know the exact date I wrote this but it was originally on /r/sg about 1yr ago. Please also read this blogpost from /u/omakaselife! for 2019 tips

April 2020 edit: added some screenshots to assist future readers and reformatted for more readability

May 2022 edit: the Singpost payment process has been deprecated, see for the updated one

Hello. I noticed this thread and realized theres not much content on here relating to the H1B1. I have done it 2 times and am about to get my 3rd. I am not a lawyer, I’m just a fellow Singaporean who has had a few jobs in the US. So I may not have all the answers but just wanted to put up a post in case pple have questions on the process and maybe others who know more can chip in.

Prior Art

Application Tips

  • First your lawyers will need to petition for an LCA for you (local condition of application). Depending on lawyer this can take between 2 weeks to 2 months. Once you have it you can get your DS160
  • Once you have your DS160 filled out (it looks intimidating but can be finished in 1-2hrs) - google the link to make the DS160. you will get a reference number that looks like AA00A16T01
  • Simultaneously you will need to pay the MRV fee of US 190 via SingPost. I have never been able to use the Singpost website so I bring a screenshot of a deposit slip to a SAM machine ( and pay via NETS. its sketchy as hell but it is reliable. You will get a receipt that looks like this.

Image from iOS

  • Once you have DS160 and your MRV paid (and wait for 1 day for your payment to hit their system), you book your US embassy appointment here:
  • IMPORTANT: at the bottom of the main booking form they ask u for a Petitioner’s name, receipt number, start date and expiration date. this is an oudated field that is no longer in use, so fill in whatever for name/start/expiration date. for receipt number it ONLY accepts a “dummy receipt number” that is “ABC0000000000”. this is straight up what the support center will say. if you try to fill in what is a COMMON SENSE thing which is the MRV receipt number you will get an error saying “Petition Receipt Number: Format is incorrect. Please enter the receipt number without dashes (-)“. Which is not even making sense. i fucking lost 4 days to this piece of shit because i forgot what i did last time. i hope this helps someone else because i kena this before and this time around i kena again. mfw.


  • only THEN will you need to enter in the MRV receipt number for USD 190 - its the long autogenerated number (starting with 8 at the time of posting, eg 85019872042295) that you get from receipt. You have to give it ~1 day since you paid before it is recognized in the system or else you get an error: No valid record can be found for the entered receipt number. Please validate that your receipt number is correct and that you have paid the correct amount for the visa which you are applying for. Here is the screen where you enter in the receipt number you paid for.


Other questions

some things that have mattered to me:

  • What education do you need? I have a masters and bachelor’s from the US. cant speak to any other educational background
  • Do I need a Big Law Firm? No. my first time i was with a big company which hired a big law firm to do things for me. my other two times were very much “DIY”.
  • Do I need a Big Company sponsor? No. I worked in a 20 person, 2 yr old startup in the US and they got an LCA for me while I got a lawyer for about 2.5k through upwork which i paid for. it is a myth that you need to be an established company to sponsor a h1b1.
  • Do I need a shit ton of paperwork? No. if you are working with a big firm that outsources this stuff to a law company they typically have you prepare a whooole bunch of supporting documents to have in original and duplicate before you show up to the embassy. this is of course nice to have but i have never once needed it in an interview. so it really is not the end of the world if you dont have it
  • Should I use the “Drop Box option”? choosing the supposedly faster “drop box” option delayed my processing by a week because they rejected me from the drop box without stating a reason and asked me to come in for an interview after.
  • How does it take? Maybe about 3-4 weeks. 1 week if you are super lucky. Schedule those interviews early if you want to leave asap!! availabilities can be two weeks out. and then it takes them a week or so to mail ur passport to the phillipines and then back to you. meanwhile you’ll know if its been approved so you can go ahead and firm up your travel dates by then.
  • What about the pay/cost of living? (not strictly h1b1 related) paying US taxes and social security and all that really cuts into the salary. I’m in new york so theres state and city tax too. the number may look higher than what ur getting elsewhere but the taxes come accordingly. do your math.

Tagged in: #reflections

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