What is an H-1B Visa?
An H-1B is a type of visa that allows a foreign national to come to the United States, temporarily, to perform services in a specialty occupation. In addition to the traditional H-1B visa, there is also the H-1B Visa for Medical Residents.
How can I tell if My Job is a “Specialty Occupation”?
Does your position require highly specialized knowledge in fields of human endeavor?
I.N.S. Regulations provide the following nonexclusive list of occupations that qualify as specialty occupations: Architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts.
What are the criteria used by USCIS/BCIS in determining a specialty Occupation
A bachelor degree, or higher degree or equivalent degree is normally the minimum entry requirement if the degree requirement is common to the industry, the employer normally requires a degree, or the nature of the duties is so complex that knowledge needed to perform the duties is usually associated with a degree.
The USCIS will look closely at the position and make a determination whether a “specific” degree in the occupation is required. For example, engineers usually have a degree in engineering and computer programmers usually have a degree in computer science. However, positions such as Human Resources Managers and Marketing Research Analysts usually do not have a very specific degree requirement.
Potential “Red Flags”
Applicant’s who do not have “specific” degree in a professional occupation will not be reviewed favorably. In addition, applicants in the arts rather than the hard sciences tend to receive greater scrutiny as well as those applicants with business degrees. Finally, management type positions are difficult to get approved because many managers work their way up to higher positions and do not necessarily need a business degree.
How Long is the H-1B Visa Application & Approval Process Take?
An H-1B visa can be processed within 15 days of acceptance if the Applicant pays USCIS an additional fee for “premium processing”. Currently the fee for premium processing of your H-1B visa is $1,225.00.
For Applicants Currently Living in the U.S.
If the applicant is in the U.S., an application for “change of status” is made on April 1, 2014 for employment commencing October 1, 2014.
For Applicants Out Of The Country
If the applicant is out of the country, the visa file is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in the applicant’s home country. Once it has arrived in the applicants home country, cisa processing time at the Consul can vary depending on particular circumstances of the application and whether the application is made during peak season such as Christmas and other seasonal holidays.
What Documents Do I Bring to the H-1B Visa Interview
- The Applicant will file form DS-160 and bring the bar coded confirmation page.
- The visa fee will then be paid and an interview scheduled.
- The applicant will need to bring the original I-797 approval notice sand a copy of the file.
- If already employed, a copy of a current pay stub is required as well as a certification of employment letter.
- If the application involves previous criminal convictions, visa overstays or other issues, a complete file of the criminal or immigration matter is required along with additional consular forms such as the VCU-1 in London.
What Are The Foreign National Qualifications
The foreign national must have a bachelor degree or higher. If no degree, an unrestricted license in the field or the equivalent to a degree which is education/training and/or progressively responsible experience equivalent to completion of the degree if there is also recognition of the expertise. Recognition can be shown by two recognized authorities, published material about the alien, foreign licensure or recognition of significant achievements by a recognized authority. Caveat-The attainment of a degree does not automatically qualify the alien. For example, an alien who has a BBA would not qualify for H-1B simply to do a managerial job with a small company as the Service generally refuses to accept management as a specialty occupation; lots of people, it says, have managed companies without a degree, nor would a physician qualify if the job is that of a nurses aide.
What Are the Employer, Petitioner, Qualifications?
A person, firm, corporation, contractor or other association or organization in the United States that enters into an employer-employee relationship with an individual, and has an IRS identification number, may sponsor an H-1B Petition.