H-1B Person in Specialty Occupation Nonimmigrant Visa
Every year, the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act set aside only 65,000 visas for the H-1B category of nonimmigrant employment visas. There is enormous worldwide demand for this type of visa, and the quota is routinely used up within the first week of the filing period. For example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that the number of petitions received in the first week of the fiscal year 2014 filing period was nearly double the allotted number of available H-1B visas. With such intense competition for this type of visa, it is clear that you cannot afford to make any mistakes in your own petition. You need a skilled Salt Lake City immigration attorney to guide you through the application process and to help you avoid potentially costly errors.
Eligibility for the H-1B Temporary Work Visa
H-1B temporary employment visas are reserved for people who work in specialty occupations. The definition of “specialty occupation” is somewhat vague but generally includes positions that require a higher-education degree or its equivalent, as well as jobs that are so complex or unique that they can only be performed by an individual with such a degree. There is also an H-1B2 visa for researchers working on certain types of projects administered by the Department of Defense and for people working in government-to-government research and development. Additionally, the H-1B3 visa allows fashion models of “distinguished merit and ability” to live and work in the United States.
The H-1B visa lasts for a period of up to three years, though it may be extended for a total of up to six years or even longer under certain circumstances. In the event of early termination prior to the expiration of the visa period, the employer will be required to pay for the reasonable costs of transportation for the employee's return trip to the country of origin. The H-4 visa allows the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years to accompany the H-1B visa holder, though it does not provide employment authorization.
H-1B Visa Application Process
With the exception of the H-1B2 visa for researchers, obtaining an H-1B visa depends on the employer obtaining labor certification. To receive labor certification, it is necessary to supply evidence to the Department of Labor that the employment of foreign nationals will not have a negative effect on the local labor market, such as by depriving local workers of jobs or by depressing wages in the area. Once labor certification has been obtained, the employer must then sponsor the prospective employee by submitting the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS. Only after this petition has been approved may the foreign national then apply for the visa through the Department of State at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. At Keen Law Offices, LLC, we assist our clients with every phase of this process, working to ensure that the entire procedure is completed in a swift and orderly manner. Contact us now to discuss your own case and to allow us to get started on the process.