H-1B visa Professionals/specialty occupations Immigration – Frequently Asked Questions

150 150 Marisol Mancera

H-1B visa Professionals/specialty occupations Immigration – Frequently Asked Questions

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa for professionals in specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent at the minimum. This visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for three more years after expiration.

We would like to give you a few facts on this visa to try to demystify it for you.

What occupations qualify for the H-1B visa

Many occupations qualify for this visa. However, the visa is most often given to professionals in the fields of biology, social sciences, engineering, business administration, mathematics, and physics. The minimum requirement to apply for this visa is a bachelor’s degree. However, a master’s degree may be needed depending on the position.

Who qualifies for the H-1B visa?

The visa is open to anyone who has received a temporary position from an employer in the U.S. A Bachelor’s degree or more in the related area is the educational requirement for a job offer to qualify for the H-1B status. The employee will only need to have a degree or higher qualification.

Is anyone with a Bachelor’s Degree Eligible?

Not everyone who has a bachelor’s degree qualifies for the visa. In most cases, the job should require a bachelor’s degree in a specialist field. You will need to have the specific degree to qualify for the visa. You also need to meet other legal requirements. 

Is it hard to get it for some types of jobs?

It can be quite hard to get H-1B status for some jobs. For instance, a sales position is hard to qualify, especially if special training is not needed. Some jobs in the computer industry such as programming can be hard to access because the requirements for some computer jobs are not usually clear.

Is there a minimum salary for H-1B jobs?

Yes, an employer who hires an H-1B worker needs to have the documents to prove it. In addition to that, the employer needs to certify to the DOL that the employee will get the prevailing wage or an actual wage, depending on which is higher.

A prevailing wage is an amount paid to workers who are in a similar job in the geographic area of employment. The actual wage is the wage the employer pays employees who are in a similar position at the intended location of employment.

Employers need to show that they will not displace US workers for them to hire H-1B applicants. Additionally, they need to prove that there are not work stoppages or strikes in the position that the H-1B applicant will occupy. This declaration is made under a penalty of perjury.

How long will it take to get the H-1B status?

The period needed to get the H-1B status is dependent on various circumstances at the USCIS and DOL. The total processing time can take as long as seven months. The processing times at the various USCIS centers vary.

What is the cap for H-1b?

The cap is a limit allowed for H-1B visa each fiscal year. This cap is currently set at 65,000 H-1B visas each year. Applications at the USCIS are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Are there exemptions to the H-1B cap?

Government research organizations, universities, and non-profit research organizations are exempt from the cap. Employees are able to submit the applications to the USCIS at any time of the year without concern about the fiscal year limit. However, if a person working for H-1B cap-exempt organization switches to an employer that is not exempt, the employee becomes subject to the cap. Additionally, there is an exemption from the cap for the first 20,000 H-1B beneficiaries that have received their Master’s degree or higher in the U.S.

When is it best to submit the H-1B application?

The earliest the application can be sent to the USCIS is six months before the expected start date of the job. For employers who are affected by the cap, it is advisable to submit an H-1B application in April, the start of the fiscal year on October 1, when 65,000 new visas become available.

How can you explain the H-1B to the employer?

Employers should know that the H-1B is an employer-sponsored visa. Thus, it is their job to submit the petition to the USCIS. If the employer has never used the H-1B visa again, they should consult an immigration lawyer. This will also help to prepare the potential employee on how to respond to questions about their eligibility for work.

Are J-1 Exchange Visitor holders eligible for the H-1B visa?

In some cases, holders of the J-1 Exchange Visitor may have to adhere to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement before they can apply for the H-1B visa. However, it does not apply to all situations. In such a case, you can immediately apply for the H-1B status. It is best to consult with a BIO Adviser to be sure whether you qualify.