The H-1B Visa has become a somewhat mythical visa category over the years. Itâ€™s the visa everybody wants and itâ€™s the visa everybody pays attention to. The laws regarding the H-1B Visa constantly change and concerned candidates should stay informed and updated as much as possible.
The H-1B Visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields. They range from Architecture and Engineering to Medicine and Health. The H-1B Visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a substantial first step toward permanent immigration.
The number of available new H-1B visas for fiscal year 2006-2007 is 65,000 per year with an additional 20,000 for those with a Masterâ€™s or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution. The fiscal year begins October 1. These limits do not apply if you will be working for a college or university or a nonprofit or government research organization.
The H-1B visa is unique because you donâ€™t have to prove that you will return home at the end of your stay in the United States . At the same time that you are employed through your H-1B visa, you may also seek permanent residency (green card).
How to qualify for an H-1B visa
The first thing you must have is a job offer from a U.S. employer. The position must be permanent and must be temporarily filled. The occupation must require specialized knowledge normally acquired through a college education. In other words, at minimum, you will need a bachelorâ€™s degree or substantial on-the-job experience that is the equivalent of a bachelorâ€™s degree.
Your experience alone may be sufficient for an H-1B visa. For example, an individual who had 22 years experience as a document systems manager was able to qualify for an H-1B visa without the necessary Bachelorâ€™s Degree.
You may also qualify with less experience if you have completed some university courses or have earned the equivalent of an Associateâ€™s in Arts Degree (2 year-degree). Every three years experience in the subject specialty occupation is the equivalent of one year towards a university degree. A bachelorâ€™s degree normally requires 4 years to complete.
The job you will be performing in the U.S. and your background must match. If, for example, you have a bachelorâ€™s degree in engineering and have 6 years experience in engineering but you are applying for the position of accountant in the U.S., you are not eligible for an H-1B visa.
Our office will obtain the required Academic Credential Evaluation (ACE). If you were educated outside the United States , an ACE will determine the American equivalence of your educational level. If you have many years experience in the occupation, the ACE will also rate your job experience as an academic equivalence.
If the state in which you will be working requires a license for your particular occupation, then that requirement must also be satisfied above and beyond the bachelorâ€™s degree.
Secondly, Hart Immigration will file the Labor Condition Attestation (LCA) with the Department of Labor on behalf of the employer. The LCA provides the proffered wage and the working conditions.
Finally, our office will file the Petition on behalf of your employer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. With this petition we will be proving four things:
Some examples of a specialty occupation, include, but are not limited to the following professions:
Computer Systems Analysis
Upper Level Business Managers
Medical records Librarians
Software Design Engineers
Technical Publications Writers
Premium processing in the amount of $1,000 payable to the government allows the application to be processed much faster than if filed conventionally. Premium processing is often recommended due to the current 65,000 cap.
If you wish to change jobs, you may do so after your new employer files a new petition. We must prove that you were lawfully admitted, that the new petition is not frivolous (not without basis in law or fact), that the new petition was filed before the expiration of your H-1B visa and that you have not been working without authorization.
Extension of stay
An H-1B is valid for 3 years and is renewable for another 3 years. If you are unemployed in the United States while in H-1B status, the period of unemployment would be counted toward the 6-year term. However, if you leave the United States for a significant period of time, your absence may suspend the 6-year limitation. An extension of stay to work for the same employer, if timely filed, continues employment for 240 days while a decision pending.
You may extend your H-1B status beyond the 6-year limit if a labor certification took 1 year or longer to be certified and an I-140 Petition or adjustment application has been filed before the expiration of your H-1B visa. Under those circumstances, H-1B status may be extended in one year increments.
An H-1B visa holder may attend classes so long as they are incidental to H-1B status.
Hart Immigration provides immigration services in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding areas.