H-1B and Other Worker Visas
Alcorn Immigration Law provides a variety of immigration legal services to employers seeking foreign employees to fill specialty occupations.
H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas
If you are a U.S. employer and would like to hire foreign talent in the U.S., an H-1B visa may be a perfect option for you! The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, there must be a job offer for a specialty occupation position and the candidate must have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty, or a related field, or equivalent. The H-1B visa allows for creative solutions to various employment needs, such as: (1) an international entrepreneur’s startup petitioning for its founder; (2) transferring an employee from another company to yours; (3) extending the stay of a current H-1B employee at your company; (4) changing the role of a current employee at your company; or, (5) helping a student in the U.S. go from F-1 student status to H-1B so he/she can work at your company.
There are also country-specific versions of the H-1B visa which may help you onboard foreign talent faster! These include:
- E-3 Visa for Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia
- H-1B1 Visa for Chileans and Singaporeans
- Related: TN Status for Mexican and Canadian Citizens
You may be wondering, “What does the process look like?” And that’s a great question! The process may vary depending on your company’s employment needs, as well as the foreign national’s current status. However, typically the process involves the following steps:
- Determining what nonimmigrant status the foreign national currently holds. And don’t worry, we will help you with this!
- If the foreign national has never held H-1B status before, then they will likely be subject to the H-1B Cap lottery.
- If the foreign national currently holds H-1B status with another employer, then an H-1B change of employer petition may be filed without going through the H-1B cap.
- If the foreign national is currently in a different nonimmigrant status but previously held H-1B status, then an H-1B change of status may be filed.
- If the foreign national is currently abroad but previously held H-1B status, then an H-1B consular processing petition may be filed on their behalf.
- Confirming whether the foreign national is qualified for the position.
- The foreign national must have, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty, or a related field.
- If the foreign national has a foreign degree, it must be evaluated by an educational credential evaluator to be equivalent to a U.S. degree.
- If the foreign national did not complete their academic studies, do not worry! We may be able to use their work experience to obtain the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree.
- Submitting a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL) for certification. The main purpose of an LCA is for employers to attest to the employment details of the H-1B beneficiary.
- Submitting Form I-129, along with the certified LCA and support documents, to USCIS.
- If the case is filed under regular processing, it may take several months to receive a response from USCIS.
- If the case is filed under premium processing, we will receive a response within 15 calendar days after the H-1B petition is filed and received by USCIS.
- Onboarding the happy new hire once the H-1B petition is approved!
- If the foreign national currently holds H-1B status with another employer, they may be able to join your company as soon as we receive the receipt notice from USCIS. We’ll be sure to explain this option to you during our case kick-off meeting!
H-1B petitions are approved in increments of 3-years, for a total of six years. The good news is that if the foreign national is in the process of obtaining a green card for permanent residence, they will be able to extend beyond the six-year limit in increments of one-year or three-years!
The H-1B visa is also a great option for foreign nationals that have family members in the U.S.! Dependents of an H-1B beneficiary, including spouse and children, may obtain H-4 status in the U.S. H-4 spouses may also be eligible for work permits if the H-1B spouse has an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (one of the steps in the green card process).
Employers can hire foreign employees to fill seasonal jobs by petitioning for the following H visas:
A company or organization may petition for an H-3 Visa for Nonimmigrant Trainees for a foreign national to receive training or experience unavailable in the foreign national’s home country.
The spouse and dependent children of H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders are eligible for an H-4 Visa for Skilled Worker Dependents. Some spouses are eligible to work permits with an Employment Authorization Document.