What Is An H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is essentially a temporary work permit. This visa allows employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations for a temporary period of time. A specialty job includes work that requires theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge in a field of either biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts. Also, to be eligible, at the minimum you must have a bachelor’s degree and state licensure (if required to practice in that field). If a foreign workers decides to quit or is dismissed from his job with the sponsoring employer, the worker must apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (must file another petition for H-1B), or leave the U.S. This visa is limited to the employment by the sponsoring employer.
How To Qualify For A H-1B Visa?
There are certain requirements when applying for H1B visa. These requirements/qualifications include:
- You must have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent (with the exception of fashion models)
- You must be applying to work in a specialty occupation.
- You must be earning an income there that is the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation (whichever is higher).
- You must have an employer-employee relationship with the sponsoring employer.
- The job must be a speciality occupation relating to your field of study.
- An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless it is exempt from numerical limits.
- The employer must meet the Department of Labour requirements and file form I-129 with the USCIS for permission to employ the foreign national.
How To Apply For An H1B Visa?
There is a specific process in existence for applying for H-1B visa.
The process of applying for an H-1B visa is:
- Offer and Acceptance
- this is when an employer files a petition to sponsor you
- the USCIS requires employment letters to contain:
- specific information addressing the position held
- the exact duties of employment
- the exact dates of employment
- information regarding supervisors and co-workers of the beneficiary
2) The prevailing wage and the actual wage must be determined and compared.
- determination of the prevailing wage is done so by the State of Employment Security Agency by completing a certain form
- this form asks about the responsibilities, skills and experience needed for the job
- determination of the actual wage is done so by comparing other workers in the same position with the same level of experience
- overall, the employer is required to pay whatever the higher wage is
3) File the Labour Certification Application (LCA)
- this is a form that contains information about the H-1B sponsoring company
- when the form is completed and signed, the employer has agreed to pay the higher of the two wages, that the employment of the foreign worker will not affect the conditions of other workers, and that there is no strike for their occupation at the workplace
- H-1B sponsors must offer the same benefits to foreign workers as other employees
4) If the LCA is approved, the Department of Labour will return a certified copy to the H1B sponsoring company.
5) The sponsoring company has the duty to post notices at two visible places at their business of the H-1B visa filing for 10 days or provide notice of filing to the collective bargaining representative for their employees.
- LCA can be used as the posting
6) H-1B petition is put together and filed with the USCIS service office.
- this includes all of the required forms, fees, documentation and information.
- form I-129, education & experience evaluation & documents, training certificates, professional memberships, resume, employment agreement and letter of support
7) Wait for the H-1B petition to be processed
- this can take a few months
8) Receipt issued by USCIS
- the sponsoring company will be sent a receipt by the USCIS Service Centre which bears a 9 digit reference number pertaining only to that particular case, H1B processing times and general information about the petitioner and foreign worker.
9) A notice should be generated by the employer.
- should be mailed out to the applicant notifying him/her of the receipt and providing some information on processing times.
10) Petition Approval
- usually approval will happen within the amount of time indicated on the receipt
- when the approval notice is issued it will be given to the employer
- it will show dates of validity for the foreign worker to have H-1B status
The 4 Steps To The H-1B Visa Application Procedure:
All those steps listed before may be a little confusing for some people. The main four steps to the H1B application procedure that one should know and understand is as follows:
- You have determined that you are eligible to be sponsored under the H1B visa.
- The prevailing wage and actual wage must be compared and determined. (usually takes about 45-60 days)
- The sponsoring company files the Labour Certification Application. (this is usually processed within 7 business days)
- A petition is filed with the USCIS. (with standard fee it may take anywhere from 2-6 months to be processed, and with the premium processing fee is should take about 15 days to process)
Why Seeking Professional Help For An H1B Visa Is Important?
Seeking professional help is important when applying for an H-1B visa. This is due to the fact that the process is extremely tedious and it is easy to miss important details that can lead to a rejection. Akrami & Associates, will know how to help you form a successful application. We will be there every step of the way. Call us Today!