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 and additional 20,000 for advanced degrees 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 job in a specialty occupation. 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 visa petition.
  • Expedited processing is possible in as few as 15 days.
  • If your employer will sponsor you, it is possible to switch to permanent status.
  • In most cases, the applicant is not required to pay any fees.
  • The H-1B visa holder’s immediate family members 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 or its equivalent 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 must engage H-1B visa sponsorship.

The H-1B Visa Process

To file an H-1B visa petition, 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 in addition, they must state that they will pay the prevailing wage for the job.
  • After the company receives approval for the Labor Condition Application, 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.
  • Once the petition is approved, the worker then will start the actual H-1B visa petition. 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, if outside the U.S.

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 H-1B status is valid for three years and may be extended for an additional three years.

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 form 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 where 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.