H-1B visas are a specific type of visa used by employers looking to hire foreign professionals as employees in specialty occupations or as fashion models who have distinguished ability and merit. At Consumer Law Group, our team of highly-trained H-1B lawyers can help you apply for and obtain an H-1B visa. Here’s how nonimmigrant aliens looking to obtain H-1B status will benefit from working with one of our H-1B immigration lawyers:
- Experience: With over 10 years of immigration and visa experience, our H-1B attorneys can have the knowledge and experience to help you in your H-1B visa application process.
- Bilingual services: Our team of immigration lawyers are fluent in both English and Spanish, so you can receive legal counsel in a language you’re most comfortable with.
- Support: No matter how challenging your case may be, our H-1B lawyers will be by your side every step of the way, keeping your best interests in mind throughout the entire H-1B visa process.
- Nationwide service: Our immigration law firm represents clients across the nation.
Consumer Law Group is composed of highly-trained immigration lawyers that can help with a wide range of visa cases. No matter what type of visa you’re applying for, our team has the experience to guide you through the process efficiently.
Other Immigration Services
In addition to visa processing, our team of H-1B immigration lawyers can provide legal counsel covering various aspects of immigration law. If you’re unsure about what area of immigration law your case pertains to, we can help. Take a look at some of the immigration services we provide here at Consumer Law Group:
An H-1B visa is a specific type of visa used by employers looking to hire foreign professionals as employees in specialty occupations, or as fashion models who have distinguished ability and merit. The Department of Labor defines a specialty occupation as one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, along with holding at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. In short, an H-1B visa allows foreign professionals to work in the U.S. temporarily.
The H-1B program was put in place to help employers find skilled workers on a temporary basis if they cannot find a qualified individual from the U.S. workforce. This program not only protects similarly employed U.S. workers from being impacted by the employment of a nonimmigrant worker but protects the nonimmigrant worker as well. Nonimmigrant workers must be paid wages that are at least equal to the actual wage of workers with similar experience and qualifications.
Obtaining an H-1B visa can be rather difficult. This is because Congress sets a cap each fiscal year on the number of H-1B visas available, which is 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor’s degree and an additional 20,000 for applicants with a master’s degree or higher. However, some occupations are cap-exempt and can be filed at any time during the year, such as institutions of higher education, not-for-profit entities, and governmental research organizations.
At Consumer Law Group, our lawyers will go over the H-1B visa process, H-1B visa requirements, and other related H-1B matters. An H-1B attorney can also help process your visa application and work with the employer looking to hire you to ensure all qualifications are met.
Obtaining an H-1B visa is extremely competitive. To ensure your best chances of acceptance, you may want to consider working with an H-1B visa attorney. This is because they have the knowledge and resources needed to help draft a compelling H-1B application and help ensure all the required documentation and eligibility requirements are met.
The filing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, is $460. In addition to the petition fee, there’s a $500 Fraud Detection and Prevention Fee, and either a $750 or $1,500 American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee. The ACWIA fee goes as follows:
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee. The ACWIA fee goes as follows:
- If your employer employs 25 or fewer full-time employees in the U.S., then the $750 ACWIA fee is owed.
- If your employer employs 26 or more full-time employees in the U.S., then the $1,500 ACWIA fee is owed.
Lastly, for a petitioner that employs 50 or more employees in the U.S., where 50% or more of those employees have H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B status, a $4,000 fee is owed.
In some cases, depending on the type of organization, an employer might not owe the ACWIA fee. The employer or the employee can pay the petition fee and fraud fee. However, the employer is responsible for the ACWIA fee.
Below are the steps needed to be taken during the H-1B visa process:
- Step 1: Find an H-1B sponsor, which is a U.S. employer that is willing to hire a nonimmigrant alien
- Step 2: Employer files Labor Condition Approval (LCA) form to the Department of Labor, which provides details on their company, such as location, wage, and job duties
- Step 3: Employer submits Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and pays all applicable fees
- Step 4: Applicant completes H-1B application at their U.S. embassy office or consulate once the petition is approved
The time it takes for an H-1B visa application to process varies on a case-by-case basis. However, it typically takes around six months from the day you file to the day you’re eligible to work. However, if you’re entering a cap-exempt occupation, you may be able to begin working sooner. An H-1B lawyer can help you understand what cap-exempt petitions you might be able to apply for and how they work.
In order to get an H-1B visa, you need to meet certain requirements. The H-1B visa requirements go as follows:
- The applicant must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a foreign equivalent—this can be bypassed if the applicant has 12 years of equivalent specialized work experience.
- The degree needed for the job is typical for the job.
- The occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge.
- The employer must show they’re having trouble finding qualified U.S. applicants for the position.
- For fashion models, they must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.
Unless canceled or revoked, an H-1B visa is valid for 3 years, and employers can file an extension for an additional 3 years.
In order to renew an H-1B visa, an employer must file a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and pay the petition fee. When filing an extension, the employer does not have to pay for the fraud fee but is still responsible for the ACWIA fee. If the employer is filing for a second extension, meaning it would be the third petition filed on your behalf, they do not have to pay the ACWIA fee.
The following documents are needed to get an H-1B visa:
- Valid passport
- Proof of prior employment
- Copy of college transcripts
- Letter from current employer
- Copy of educational and technical degrees
- Proof of prior employment
- Copy of resume
- Approved Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- I-129 Petition
- Proof of degree
- Checks or money orders for applicable fees
Yes, you can check your H-1B visa status online by visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website and entering your receipt number, which is a 13-character identifier the USCIS gives each person applying for a visa.
Yes, you can get an H-1B visa with a criminal record. However, having a criminal record can make the process more challenging, especially if you have a felony. If you have a criminal record, you will typically need to obtain a waiver to get an H-1B visa.
Once you receive your H-1B visa, you can travel outside of the U.S. However, when you’re outside of the U.S., you’ll have to get a new H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Yes, all H-1B visa holders are eligible to apply for a green card. However, this process can be complex, which is why working with an H-1B lawyer might be wise. To make this change, your employer will have to file for the Permanent Labor Certification in your name, then submit Form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Finally, you’ll have to file Form I-148, which is the adjustment of status form, to obtain a green card.
Yes, in order to obtain an H-1B visa, you must be sponsored by an employer. However, if you were to switch employers, you can’t use the same H-1B visa. In this case, you’ll have to go through an H-1B visa transfer where the new employer you’re looking to work with goes through the H-1B application process and pays any applicable fees.
There are several types of organizations and jobs that are allowed for an H-1B visa, including:
- Business managers
- Financial managers
- Health care professionals
- Non-profit organizations
If you’re an H-1B visa holder and are partnered with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for immigrant status through a marriage-based green card. At Consumer Law Group, our immigrant lawyers are well-versed in immigration law and can help you go from an H-1B visa to a green card.
No, spouses aren’t eligible for an H-1B visa. Instead, an H-1B worker’s spouse can accompany them to the U.S. with an H-4 visa.
No, dependents aren’t eligible for an H-1B visa. Instead, an H-1B worker’s dependents can accompany them to the U.S. with an H-4 visa.
Yes. However, instead of an H-1B visa, certain spouses will have to seek admission through the H-4 application and file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, as long as their H-1B nonimmigrant spouse has already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.
Yes. However, instead of an H-1B visa, certain dependents will have to seek admission through the H-4 application and file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, as long as their H-1B nonimmigrant parent has already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.
- Why are you seeking employment in the U.S.?
- Why are you changing careers?
- When do you plan on traveling?
- How long have you been working?
- What is your current salary?
- What is your highest educational qualification?
- What company will you work for in the U.S.?
- When did you receive an offer letter from your employer?
- What do you know about the company?
- What dates were your interviews?
- Who is the President or CEO of the company?
- How did you get in contact with the company?
- What is the salary you will get in the U.S.?
The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of workers unemployed, including H-1B nonimmigrant workers. When an H-1B worker is laid off or loses their job, their H-1B visa status effectively ends because it’s tied to the conditions of their employer. In this case, the foreign professional will either have to file for a new visa, find a new employer sponsor, or return home. If the nonimmigrant alien has to return home, the employer must pay the reasonable cost of return transportation for them to return to their home country.
Regarding the H-1B visa process, USCIS put a temporary pause on H-1B application processing after President Trump’s COVID-19 National Emergency declaration on March 13, 2020. For H-1B visa holders who were accepted prior to the temporary suspension, they may face various safety measures at U.S. embassies, consulates, and ports of entry, such as social distancing protocols, the use of hand sanitizer, and the requirements of masks.
If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of Consumer Law Group’s H-1B visa lawyers.
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