H-1B Visas

The H-1B work visa is one of the most sought-after types of visas each year. Because there is so much demand for the H-1B visa, there is a cap on how many can be approved each year. Currently, the cap is at 65,000 H-1B nonimmigrant visas per fiscal year. That’s why you need an immigration attorney who understands how to navigate the ever-changing immigration process. The experienced team at Ellen Freeman Immigration Law Group will help you successfully complete the H-1B visa process so you can bring the employees you need to your company.

What Is the H-1B Visa?

An H-1B visa is necessary when an employer wants to hire foreign workers for a temporary job in a specialty occupation when qualified Americans can’t be found to fill the position. The person receiving an H-1B visa is only allowed to work for the sponsoring company.

Benefits of the H-1B Work Visa

There are a number of benefits related to the H-1B work visa.

  • No labor certification is required for the H-1B application.
  • Expedited processing is possible in as little as 15 days.
  • If your employer will sponsor you, it is possible to switch to a green card status.
  • In most cases, the applicant is not required to pay any fees.
  • The H-1B holder’s family can receive H-4 visas, allowing them to live and study in the United States.

H-1B Visa Requirements

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, foreign-born professionals must work in a specialty occupation requiring “theoretical and practical application” of a unique discipline. They must have at least a bachelor’s degree in the discipline applicable to the job. Fields such as IT, medicine, math, engineering, law, accounting and other difficult-to-master occupations are eligible for H-1B work visas. The company wanting to hire a foreign worker is responsible for H-1B visa sponsorship.

The H-1B Visa Process

To file an H-1B visa application, there are steps that both an employer and a potential employee must take in the H-1B visa process.

  • The employer is required to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. They will be required to show they adhere to the H-1B program requirements and attest that they are unable to find qualified American employees for the position. In addition, they must state that they will pay a prevailing wage for the job.
  • After the company receives approval for the Labor Condition Report, they must file a Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Employers are required to provide their company’s information, along with information about the foreign worker they wish to hire. A $460 fee must be paid for each petition the company files and a company is allowed to file up to 250 petitions.
  • Once the petition is approved, the worker then will start the actual H-1B visa application. The applicant will fill in Form DS-160 and then schedule an interview. They will need to pay the $190 application fee, submit required documents and attend the H-1B interview.

The H-1B Lottery Process

The USCIS utilizes a lottery to select which applicants will receive an H-1B work visa. The selection process by the USCIS is entirely random. If an applicant is selected, the USCIS will notify an employer, and the applicant can schedule an interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country.

How Long Is an H-1B Visa Good For?

Foreign workers with an H-1B visa status are allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to six years. Initially, the visa is valid for three years and may be extended for another three. After the visa expires, a worker is required to either leave the country, receive an extension of the visa or apply for a different type of visa. If a worker stays after their H-1B visa has expired, they lose their legal status and can be deported.

What Are the H-1B Visa Costs For Employers?

The fees associated with an H-1B visa can vary depending on the size of the company. The H-1b cost for an employer includes:

  • Registration Fee: $10
  • Standard Fee: The standard filing fee is $460 for the I-129 petition
  • American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) Training Fee: For any company with 1-25 full-time workers, the fee is $750. For employers who have 26 or more full-time employees, the fee is $1,500. Some types of organizations are exempt, including non-profits with affiliations to educational institutions and governmental research organizations.
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: This fee of $500 applies to both new H-1B petitioners or those changing employers. USCIS requires the sponsoring employer to pay for this fee.
  • Public Law 114-113 Fee: This $4,000 fee applies to any company with more than 50 employees and over half of its employees on H-1B or L-1 status. In some cases, USCIS can exempt this fee.
  • Optional Fees: Premium processing is an option for those hoping to expedite the H-1B visa process in a 15-day time frame; the cost for premium processing is $2,500.

Let the Ellen Freeman Immigration Law Group Help With the H-1B Visa Process

Why struggle to apply for an H-1B work visa on your own when the Ellen Freeman Immigration Law Group can help? Besides H-1B visas, we also assist with a wide range of employer services. If you need assistance with any employment immigration issue, contact us and discover how we can help.