For foreign nationals wanting to work in the United States, you may be interested in applying for an H1-B visa. This nonimmigrant visa type allows employers in the United States to employ foreign workers with high skills and qualifications. With an H1-B visa, foreign workers can temporarily work and live in the United States to work for their US employers.
An H-1 visa may be a good choice for professional jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree. However, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to substitute your degree for another qualification or work experience to get the job. If you are qualified to work in one of the listed specialty jobs, you may be eligible to apply for an H1-B visa.
These jobs require specialized knowledge. Professionals who work in the following fields (Architecture, Engineering, Technology, Finance, Information Technology, Mathematics, and more) are eligible to apply for an H1-B visa. Each fiscal year, there is a limit on the number of H1-B visas that can be issued.
The limit is 20,000, and additional petitions can be filed for those with qualifications higher than a bachelor’s degree. Non-profit organizations and similar bodies are not subject to this cap. The H1-B visa application process, like all other immigration processes, is not for the faint of heart.
This is especially true if you are new to the United States immigration system. Hiring an immigration attorney in Texas will compensate for your lack of experience and help you immensely. Here is a step-by-step overview of how to apply for H1-B visas.
Basic info about H1-B visas
H1-B visas are a type of nonimmigrant work visa issued by the US government for foreign professionals with specialized knowledge or experience in specific fields. The specialty occupation visa (also known as an H1-B specialty visa) permits foreign professionals to fill a specific position and reside in the United States for a particular period, typically up to six years.
H1-B visas are typically applied for through the labor condition application process. You must meet specific requirements before you can apply for an H-1-B visa. In many cases, visa fees cannot be refunded. You can learn more about H1-B visas by speaking with an immigration attorney in Texas.
What is the purpose of the H1-B visa program?
The purpose of the H-1-B visa program is to admit foreign skilled workers from around the world to share their knowledge and expertise with the US economy. When there is a shortage of skilled workers in the United States, employers in the United States look for foreign talent.
H1-B visas allow US employers to hire workers from other countries to fill specialty occupation vacancies in the US. H1-B visa holders can stay in the US for three years, and this period can be renewed. The maximum period of stay under H1-B visas is six years. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a longer stay under certain conditions.
Eligible H1-B visa jobs
Before taking any step in the H1-B visa process, keep in mind that your job must fall under the specialty occupations category. This is the only way to qualify for the visa. An H1-B specialty visa requires a certain amount of experience and expertise in a particular field.
For example, if you are an architect, a doctor, or a teacher, you can apply for a specialty visa under this category. You can contact an immigration attorney in Texas to determine if your profession falls under this category.
Who can get an H1-B visa?
H1-B visas are issued for a variety of specialty occupations, and several stringent requirements must be met to be eligible for the visa. Here are some of the conditions that must be met to be eligible for an H1-B visa:
The first thing is that you must have a bachelor’s degree. This degree must be in a specific field of study. For example, you can have a bachelor’s in engineering or computer science. You can also have a degree in medicine or another related field. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to work in the US if you have significant work experience.
The work experience you need must be related to the role you are applying for. For example, if you are an accountant and you have worked as an accountant for four years or more, your work experience can be considered equivalent to a bachelor’s degree for the purpose of an H1-B visa application.
2. Specialty job offer.
Aside from having a degree, there are other things that you must meet to be eligible for an H1-B visa. You must have a valid job offer from an approved US company prepared to sponsor your visa. To work in the United States, you must have an employment contract with an approved US company that wants to employ you.
You must also have an unlimited right to practice your profession in the US. If you require assistance getting this license, speak with an immigration attorney in Texas immediately.
3. LCA approval.
The US employer must get an LCA approval before posting any job. To get the LCA approval, the sponsoring US employer must show that there is an apparent shortage of qualified professionals in the United States for the position.
The sponsoring US employer must also prove that things are in place to ensure a fair working environment. This means that hiring a foreigner will not affect the wages and working conditions of existing employees in similar positions in the United States.
4. Hands-on work experience.
Along with your academic credentials, you must also have some hands-on experience. The practical skills you will need match the position requirements you are applying for. Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for an H1-B visa through USCIS. Your US employer must complete a labor condition application and submit it to the USCIS.
The whole process can be overwhelming, but with the help of an immigration attorney in Texas, you can figure out if you are eligible without any stress.
How to Apply?
The H1-B application process is stressful for both the foreign employee and the sponsoring US employer. This is because they both have different roles to play in the process. Here are the steps to take to apply for H1-B visas:
1. US employers’ job registration.
First, sponsoring US employers must register on the USCIS website, where they will be required to provide information about their business. They must also supply info about every H1-B candidate they want to hire. There is a fee per H1-B visa candidate.
2. The LCA process.
ETA- 9035 is a form that employers must complete and submit to the DOL 6 months before starting the foreign employee’s employment. It is a legally binding form that protects H1-B employees. The LCA establishes criteria like fair wage, location, benefits, etc.
The US employer and the foreign employee must agree to comply with the terms of H1-B visas. The DOL considers the LCA within 7 days of filing.
3. I-129 process.
Sponsoring US employers must complete form I-129 to file a petition with USCIS. This form includes all fees and an assessment. It also includes supporting documents such as the workers’ resume, employment agreements, letters of support, and the nonimmigrant workers’ LCA approval.
This process takes 3-4 months. Unless you choose premium processing, which comes with a hefty processing fee. An immigration attorney in Texas will help you with premium processing.
4. The H1-B visa application.
If your petition is accepted, the next step will be based on whether you are still living in your country or already living in the US on a different visa. If you live in your country, you must go to your home country’s consular office to process your H1-B visa. You must submit a form DS-160, as well as other documents.
At the US port, you must apply for admission at the US border. If you are in the US when your petition is accepted for admission, you will proceed to your US port of entry and complete a form I-94. Once you are at the border, you can legally immigrate to the US on an H1-B visa.
To get an H1-B visa, you must attend a visa interview at the nearest US Embassy or consulate in your country. After this, you will find out whether your visa is accepted. If your US employer terminates you before the expiry date, your sponsoring US employer will pay your return transportation expenses.
Your employer will not pay your transportation expenses if you resign. Many things must be taken into consideration when applying for an H1-B visa. However, you can still get an immigration attorney in Texas to assist you.
Gains of being an H1-B visa holder
H-1B visa holders have several entitlements as an employee. Your employer must pay you the same salary as other workers or the most common wage in the field of work. However, these workers must have skills and experience comparable to yours. You have the right to a copy of the LCA approval from your employer.
You can also enjoy additional benefits from your employer, similar to those offered to other employees. The US employer must compensate you for lost productivity if you are not licensed or have not obtained a work permit. Speak with an immigration attorney in Texas to know more about your rights as an H1-B visa holder.
If you are a foreign national who wants to work in the US, hiring an experienced immigration attorney in Texas is one of the sure ways to make your visa application go through smoothly and expeditiously. If you are searching for skilled immigration attorneys in Texas, Gehi and Associates is the right place.
Gehi and Associates have a team of highly skilled immigration lawyers who are well-versed in the visa application process. They will be happy to help you with all your visa applications. So don’t wait any longer. Contact us today!
1. Are H1-B workers required to pay tax?
Yes, you must pay state and federal income taxes. You are also required to pay social security taxes and Medicare.
2. How long will the H1-B visa application take?
H1-B visa processing times vary from country to country. The processing times vary from embassy to embassy and from city to city. Contact an immigration lawyer in Texas for more information.
3. Can H1-B workers bring their spouses to the US?
Yes. If the spouse is eligible for an H-4 visa, they can accompany the H1-B visa holder.