One of the most desirable visa programs, and the one perhaps most familiar to both foreigners and U.S. citizens, is the H-1B visa. This is often referred to as the “work visa” because it is utilized by those brought into the U.S. as employees for companies in specialty fields. In order to come into the U.S. under an H-1B visa, the applicant must have been offered a position in a qualifying occupation. The specialty job offered must require at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). The offered wage must be at the prevailing wage for that occupation in its given location. Our immigration attorneys can assist you by advising on obtaining the prevailing wage rate as well as evaluating the offered position to see if it qualifies as a specialty occupation.
These occupations are primarily in technical and professional employment fields, such as information technology, finance, banking, teaching, engineering, and business. The applicant must show that they have the appropriate credentials for such a position as well as employer sponsorship. There are many hoops to jump through in order to obtain approval, and the paperwork can be technical. There is also a yearly deadline for applications. This year, the H-1B visa petition must be submitted no later than March 31, 2018 in order to arrive at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ offices on April 2, 2018, the first day of H-1B petitions being accepted.
Each year the number of applications approved through the H-1B visa program is capped, although there is some flexibility. For instance, this year the cap is 65,000, however, certain applicants can also apply for one of the additional 20,000 application spots that are only available to international students who have graduated from a U.S. school with an master’s degree or higher. In addition, the H-1B cap does not apply to certain applicants sponsored by non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and government research organizations.
Business immigration programs are a valuable way for the U.S. to get skilled workers while qualified foreigners obtain a legal way to live in the U.S. The H-1B visa program is especially desirable because it also offers a path to permanent residency, and the applicants are allowed to have a “dual intent.” This “dual intent” means that an applicant will not be screened for and denied a visa if they exhibit an intent to stay in the U.S. and become a permanent resident. They may also bring their family (spouse and unmarried children under age 21). In contrast, non- “dual intent” visas may not allow applicants to come into the U.S. for a temporary period of time and then decide that they want to stay permanently.
David Hirson & Partners, LLP, is an experienced business immigration law firm assisting clients in obtaining a wide variety of visas, including the H-1B visa. Contact us today for help with your application process.