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! https://medium.com/@Ashleylim/navigating-the-h1b1-visa-process-4c8e459c4b96 for 2019 tips

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.

some prior art:

are the only two "regular human" resources i have found online. would be glad to learn more.

some things that have mattered to me:

  • yes i have a masters and bachelor's from the US. cant speak to any other educational background
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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
  • yes you really have to go to a SingPost SAM machine and pay the us\$190. its sketchy as hell.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • (not strictly h1b1 related) paying US taxes and social security and all that really cuts into the salary. im 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.

Forgot to mention. once you have your DS160 filled out (it looks intimidating but can be finished in 1-2hrs) then you book your US embassy appointment here: https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/ This is a fucking old ass website and is an embarrasment to the US government and i would gladly fix it for them for free but unfrotunately thats life. anyway.

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. fill in whatever u want but 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.

(btw you only really need the MRV receipt number at the screen after that when you actually book the appointment - its the long autogenerated number (starting with 8 at the time of posting) that you get from the PDF that you used to pay at the Singpost SAM kiosk. sketchy as fuck, ugh.)