I was on the H4 visa for 2 years and recently I got my H1 visa. Without getting into personal reasons for applying for the transfer, I am going to share my experience for the transfer process. This should help other H4 visa holders look for more opportunites.
1. First, look for an employer who will give you H1 visa. This is not easy. People will ask you to go to Consultants who charge $5000-$10,000 to get you a H1B visa sponser.
2. It was not easy finding a company that was ready to hire me, especially because it is was a slump. People were getting fired;who would hire me. I kept trying and I did get a job. The company filed for my LCA, also known as the Labour Condition Application. This is important as it shows that there are not enough people in the U.S. to fill that job position and that is why they are hiring ME (a foreign born resident).
3. The employer also filed I-129. They paid the H1B visa fees as well. I did not have to pay for that.
4. Then I got a date for H1 visa interview by the USCIS.
5. Here is a list of documents I took for the H1 visa interview : my passport, photo, copy of DS-160 confirmation receipt, visa fees receipt, my education certificates, date of birth certificate, etc. To be safe, I also took my husband's H1 B visa information. Even though this had nothing to do with his visa, I just kept it with me to be on the safe side.
6. During the interview I was asked about my H4 visa and why I applied for the H1 visa. They asked me a lot of questions on where the project implementation of the company was being done: was I deployed on site, would I report to the client company or the parent company, so on and so forth.
7. I think they were convinced by my answers and kept my passport for the H1 visa stamping.
By the way I filed for my H4 visa petition on April 1, 2010. I was able to join work from October 1, 2010.
Hope this helps people.