An H-1B Visa is a U.S. work permit that allows foreigners to work “specialty occupations” for U.S. employers. This means that your employment in the United States cannot be for any type of work. The work performed must involve a high level of skill such as in a professional occupation. Most applicants under the H-1B Work Visa category are highly educated with a University degree. But this is not always the case. Some H-1B visas can be granted to applicants with little education but with lots of work experience.
Applying for an H-1B visa requires a great deal of preparation including assembling the proper paper work, following the proper procedures and knowing where to file and when. H-1B Visas are also subject to annual quotas so its essential that your application is submitted on time.
Our law firm has over 15 years of experience at handling H-1B visa applications. Contact us for an assessment for your application today.
How do I qualify for an H-1B Visa?
To qualify for an H-1B Visa, you must perform services in the U.S. in a specialty occupation;
- You must have a job offer from a U.S employer that offers you the “prevailing wage” paid in the same U.S. geographic area for similar work that you will be performing;
- A bachelor’s degree or higher is the minimum requirement for entry into that position;
- The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or the duties of the positions are so complex that only a person with a degree can perform them
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with a bachelor’s degree
- Your U.S. employer normally requires a degree for the position offered
- You must have the correct background to the job offered
- It is important to note that where a degree is not usually required for an occupation, an H-2B Work Visa may be appropriate.
H1-B Visa ALERT: The annual H-1B Visa quota of 65000 per year has now been filled. No new H-1B Visas will be accepted until April 1, 2012. If you intended to apply for an H-1B Visa, contact us for alternative solutions. A TN Visa or L-1 Visa may be a suitable alternative .
H-1B Visa Application Procedure
There are 4 steps involved in the H-1B process:
1. Prevailing Wage Determination
The employer must determine the “prevailing wage” for the complete job offered to the foreign national. This is usually done by filing a request with the state employment security agency (SESA). The wage must be higher than or within 5% of the prevailing wage in the state on the indented employment.
2. Employer’s Attestation
The employer must file a Labor Condition Attestation (LCA) with the United States Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA contains information about the nature of the occupation, the number of foreign workers that have been hired by the employer and the wages paid to the foreign workers. The LCA also contains a written promise that foreign nationals will be paid the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to similarly situated workers; that there are no strikes or lockouts in process involving jobs to be filled by H-1B Visa workers and that the employer has given notice of the filing of H-1B attestations to either the labor union (if one exists) or has posted notice of the filing in a conspicuous place for other workers to see.
The DOL will certify the LCA if it has been completed properly and will provide the employer with an endorsed copy which will be used in support of the H-1B petition.
3. Employer’s Petition
The employer files the H-1B Visa Petition with the INS Service Center in the United States.
Once the Petition is approved, the application is filed by the foreign national to the U.S Consulate. IF YOU ARE CANADIAN, you can simply go to a US port of entry with the approved petition and be admitted.
Processing Times for H-1B
Processing times range from 9 to 14 weeks depending on the INS Service Center that has jurisdiction over the case.
H-1B Visa Quotas
Currently there is a quota of 65,000 H-1Bs for the fiscal year of 2011/2012.
Duration of H-1B Status
H-1B Work Visas can be issued for a period of up to 6 years. However, the INS typically will issue the visa for an initial period of 3 years. Extensions must be filed after the three-year period usually requiring a new Labor Condition Attestation (LCA).
Do you need an H-1B Visa?
H-1B Visas are applications our law firm handles on a regular basis. Contact us for an assessment of your case!