The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It was created to address the shortage of skilled workers in certain fields and to enable U.S. companies to hire foreign professionals to fill specific roles that cannot be easily filled by the domestic workforce.
The H-1B visa is particularly popular among professionals in technology, engineering, finance, healthcare, and other specialized fields. It provides an avenue for foreign workers to work legally in the U.S. for a limited period, typically up to three years, with the possibility of extension. To qualify for an H-1B visa, both the employer and the foreign worker must meet specific eligibility criteria which we want to share more information on here in our blog.
First, let us share more information on the Employer Requirements:
- The employer must have a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
- The offered position must be a specialty occupation requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in a specific field of study related to the job.
- The employer must pay the prevailing wage for the position, as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
Second, we will review the Foreign Worker Requirements:
- The foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the specific field of study required for the specialty occupation.
- The foreign worker must have the necessary qualifications, licenses, or certifications to perform the job.
- The foreign worker must maintain a valid foreign passport.
The H-1B visa application process itself involves several steps, including obtaining a Labor Condition Application (LCA), filing the H-1B petition, and attending a visa interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy. The employer must first obtain a certified LCA from the DOL. The LCA includes information about the offered position, such as job title, salary, and work location. The DOL reviews the LCA to ensure the employer complies with prevailing wage requirements and working conditions.
Once the LCA is certified, the employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, supporting documents, and filing fees with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The filing period begins on the first business day of April each year and continues until the annual cap is reached. From there, when the H-1B petition is approved, the foreign worker must attend a visa interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. The consular officer will review the application, verify the applicant’s eligibility, and issue the H-1B visa if all requirements are met.
We would encourage you to start as soon as possible with this process. The H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap, and the demand often exceeds the available visas. Therefore, starting the process as early as possible is crucial, ideally several months before the filing period begins. It is critical that you also submit complete and accurate documentation is crucial for a successful H-1B petition. Double-check all forms and supporting documents to avoid delays or denials. You also want to emphasize your unique qualifications, skills, and experience that make you an ideal candidate for the specialty occupation. This can help strengthen your case and improve your chances of approval.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. The H-1B visa process can be complex and time-consuming. When you work with an experienced immigration attorney, they can help ensure your application is prepared correctly and increase your chances of success. For assistance navigating the immigration process and related legal issues, please feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a meeting time. At the Law Offices of Suzanne St. Luce, P.A., our staff is qualified to offer a wide range of legal services. Our attorney has over 20 years of experience and we want to help you with your case. We take all cases… Personally. Please contact us for questions related to your specific situation.