The H-1B visa allows foreign nationals to enter the US and work in a variety of “specialty occupations” ranging from architecture and engineering to medicine and fashion modeling. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is often a first step toward permanent immigration.
There are three main requirements for H1B:
- The foreign national must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (3 years of progressively responsible work experience in a related field may equate to 1 year of university-level study)
- The foreign nationals’ field of study must be related to the job being offered to him/her
- The job being offered to the foreign national must usually require at least a Bachelor’s degree
H1B holder can only work for the employer who sponsored his visa. He/she can work for several employers concurrently, but separate H1B must be filed for each employer.
Usually, the foreign national may stay in the United States up to 6 years (H1B is good for three years; one extension to three more years is allowed). If by the end of 6 year term H1B holder has an immigrant employment-based preference petition or labor certification pending for more than 365 days, such H1B holder may extend his H1B status, in one year increments, until final decision is made on his immigrant petition.
The spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-1B worker as H-4 dependents. However, they cannot work unless they qualify for a separate work visa. They can, however, attend schools in the US without obtaining a student visa.
Because the H-1B visa requires a US sponsor, the applicant must seek a US employer who is willing to hire the applicant temporarily, pay the applicant the prevailing wage for the offered position and file the petition and supporting documents with Immigration Services.
The petition process begins with the sponsoring employer filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. Upon obtaining an approved LCA the employer files Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker (Form I-129 and H Supplement) with Immigration office having jurisdiction over the place of employment. The petition must be filed with documentation that shows the job is a professional or specialty occupation and that the H-1B applicant is qualified for the position.
The filing fee for an H-1B petition is $320. All employers must complete and file Form I-129W with the Form I-129 petition. The filing fee for Form I-129W is $1,500 for employers with 25 or more employees or $750 for employers with less than 25 employees.
If either the employer or the applicant wishes to expedite the H-1B petition so an initial determination is made within 15 days of the filing, it may request premium processing for an additional fee of $1,000. The request is made by completing Form I-907.
After approval, Immigration will send Form I-797 (Notice of Action) to the employer. The employer then notifies the applicant and sends all the required documents to the applicant. The applicant can then apply for his H-1B visa at the US Consulate abroad or, if the applicant is legally in the US, he can adjust his non-immigrant status without leaving the US.
Visa fees associated with obtaining the H-1B visa in US Consulates abroad vary from country to country.
The laws regarding the H-1B visa are constantly changing and applicants considering this category as a means of working in the US on a temporary basis should stay informed and updated as much as possible. Because your circumstances and the circumstances of your dependent family members may require special attention, you should always consult with a knowledgeable business immigration attorney before initiating your H1B case.
At Stelmakh & Associates, our attorneys boast an exceptionally high approval rating in all cases filed. All our previous H1B cases, selected for random processing by USCIS, were approved. This is a direct result of our highly trained staff of legal professionals that are always up to date with the latest rules and regulations in business immigration law. We provide high-quality legal services by placing a premium on our client’s individual needs, flexibility, innovation, and personal integrity. By utilizing these qualities, we have been extremely successful in filing H-1B petitions under strict cap deadlines and are ready to assist you with filing H-1B petitions under this year’s cap.
If you are an employer considering hiring new H-1B workers or if you are a foreign national considering working in the U.S. on H-1B visa, you should make a decision soon as to whether your would like to file an H-1B visa petition this year.
We look forward to assisting you with your H-1B petition.