H-1B FOR SPECIALTY OCCUPATIONS
The H1B visa classification for Specialty Occupations allows U.S. employers to augment the existing labor force with highly skilled temporary workers. Applicants must demonstrate theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, and more.
A perfect example of an H-1B application would be Microsoft employing a software engineer from India, with a specialized degree and applicable professional experience.
Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.
Our typical fee for a standard H-1B case is $4,500, not including, a governmental fee and third-party extensions. We are happy to customize a proposal for your during a consultation and walk you through what a standard H-1B case looks like. Please see below for more information.
CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW
Step 1: Strategy Session for H-1B Visa
This is the most crucial step for your entire H-1B Visa. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.
Step 2: Prepare and Submit H-1B to USCIS
Our attorneys will craft your H-1B arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats. Every letter of recommendation, employment document, etc. will be carefully reviewed for your success.
Step 3: Respond to Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
In the event, USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), our attorneys will craft a response in a timely manner to fight for the approval of your H-1B application.
Step 4: Prepare Client for Interview in the US or at the Consulate
It all comes down to this after USCIS approved the H-1B. We help guide the client in his/her preparation for the interview at a U.S. consulate by simulating the interview and ensuring the client is well-versed in the application material. Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interviews.
Step 5: Responding to Consulate Requests / Administrative Processing / Status Checks / Fraud Alerts
After the interview, we will help formulate possible responses from the U.S. Consulate, from additional document requests, to revised applications, to fraud alerts. It is about keeping close tabs with the consulate processing.
Step 6: Arrival is Only The Beginning
Our services do not end when you receive your H-1B Approval — this is only the beginning. To help accommodate this reality, our team will continue to provide guidance and support to you and your dependent family members post-approval with the following:
- Consular processing (“visa stamping”)
- CBP – Airport Arrival
- Dependent Visas/Work Permits
- Reentry Permits
- and more!
Checklist of Required Evidence
H-1B Documents for Filing the Petition
- I-129 petition
- Approved Labor Condition Application
- Supporting evidence, including
- Copy of resume
- Copy of job offer including job description
- Proof of your degree
- Other evidence that may be particular to your case
Required Supplementary Documentation for the H-1B Visa Process
- Duplicate copy of the passport
- Proof of prior employment
- Proof of existing certifications or accomplishments
- Letter from registrar to certify completion of educational credits
- Copy of educational or technical degrees
- Duplicate copy of transcripts
- Letter from present employer
The updated filing fee for H-1B can be found here.
Eligibility for H-1B Visa
- Possess a U.S. Bachelor’s degree;
- Alternatives to Possessing U.S. Bachelor’s Degree:
- Possess a foreign degree that is determined to be the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree;
- Possess an unrestricted state license, registration or certification that authorizes the individual to practice in that industry in the state of proposed employment;
- Possess education, specialized training, and/or experience that are equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree;
- In order for the position to qualify as a specialty occupation, it must meet the following technical requirements:
- Full state license to practice in the occupation, if such license is required to practice in the occupation;
- Completion of the degree in the specific specialty required as a minimum for entry into the occupation; or
- Experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree, and recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty;
- Employer must obtain approved Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor.
- The position offered must require knowledge, both theoretical and applied, which is almost exclusively obtained through studies at an institution of higher learning;
- The position must require a specific course of study which relates directly to the position;
- The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific activity (or its equivalent) is a minimum requirement for the position.
8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(ii)
Prominence means a high level of achievement in the field of fashion modeling evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of fashion modeling.
Recognized authority means a person or an organization with expertise in a particular field, special skills or knowledge in that field, and the expertise to render the type of opinion requested. Such an opinion must state:
(1) The writer’s qualifications as an expert;
(2) The writer’s experience giving such opinions, citing specific instances where past opinions have been accepted as authoritative and by whom;
(3) How the conclusions were reached; and
(4) The basis for the conclusions supported by copies or citations of any research material used.
Specialty occupation means an occupation which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in fields of human endeavor including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts, and which requires the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
United States employer means a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association, or organization in the United States which:
(1) Engages a person to work within the United States;
(2) Has an employer-employee relationship with respect to employees under this part, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee; and
(3) Has an Internal Revenue Service Tax identification number.
Residential Financial Corp. v. USCIS, 2012
- The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff stating “[w]hat is required is an occupation that requires highly specialized knowledge and a prospective employee who has attained the credentialing indicating possession of that knowledge.” They also state, “[t]he knowledge and not the title of the degree is what is important.” The court ruled that there were four reasons necessary in determining the validity of this specialty occupation:
Tapis International v. Immigration and Naturalization, 2000
- “For the ‘equivalent’ language to have any reasonable meaning, it must encompass not only skill, knowledge, work experience, or training… but also various combinations of academic and experience-based training.”
SAMPLE & TEMPLATES
Attorney Brief: [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the H-1B petition.
Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the H-1B petition.
Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.
Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the benefits of H-1B visa
- H-1B visa is granted in increments for a total stay of six years;
- Dual intent/opportunity to petition for future permanent residence. Immigration laws and USCIS regulations allow the H-1B holder to have “dual intent” with respect to his or her intent to immigrate to the United States. Therefore, an individual seeking the temporary right to work in the U.S. via an H-1B visa may also petition for permanent U.S. residence;
- No need to maintain a foreign residence. With the H-1B visa, there is no need for an alien worker to maintain a foreign residence, as opposed to many other temporary visas;
- Ability to change employers during H-1B status. An H-1B worker can start to work for his/her new employer as soon as the new employer files a new H-1B petition on behalf of the alien;
- Ability to change employers during the green card application process. An alien may change employers and it will not affect his/her adjustment of status provided that he/she has filed an I-485 for at least 180 days and continues to work in the same or related field for the new employer;
- Applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be entitled to enter and remain in the United States for the duration of the H-1B status holder’s authorized duration of stay;
- An H-1B visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are permitted to attend school either on a part-time or full-time basis;
- An H-1B holder is allowed to go to school part time or full time without an H-1B as long as he/she currently holds a valid H-1B status. This means that while the H-1B employee is attending school, he/she must continue to work for his/her employer;
- Applicants can apply for a part-time H-1B, as long as work hours are at least 50% of the normal full-time hours in the industry and the applicant satisfies all other requirements for an H-1B visa. If the applicant already has H-1B status, they can apply for a concurrent H-1B for another part time job. In this situation, there is no set number of hours that the beneficiary must work for each employer.
What kinds of occupations qualify for H-1B status?
A broad range of professional occupations qualify for H-1B status. Generally, professional-level occupations in engineering, biological, physical, social sciences, mathematics, and business administration will qualify for H-1B. A bachelor’s degree is always the minimum requirement for an occupation to qualify for H-1B status, but depending on the position, an advanced degree (Master’s or Ph.D.) may be necessary.
Is it difficult to get H-1B status in certain kinds of jobs?
It may be particularly difficult to get H-1B status for certain types of jobs. Positions in sales can be difficult if they do not require special training. Some positions in the computer industry, especially computer programming, can be difficult because the minimum requirements for some computer-related jobs are not always well established. An attorney can advise you as to the applicability of an H-1B for a particular job.
Is there a minimum salary for a job in H-1B status?
Yes, the employer hiring an H-1B worker, must have documentation to prove, and then must certify to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that it will pay the H-1B employee the prevailing wage or the actual wage, whichever is higher. The prevailing wage is the salary paid to workers in similar occupations in the geographic area of the intended employment. The actual wage is the wage that the employer pays employees in similar occupations at the location of the intended employment. The employer must also certify that it is not displacing any U.S. workers to hire the H-1B applicant, and that there are no strikes or other work stoppages in the occupation in which the H-1B applicant will be employed. The employer makes these declarations, under penalty of perjury, by submitting to DOL for certification a form called a “Labor Condition Application” (LCA).
How long does it take to obtain H-1B status?
The amount of time required to obtain H-1B status varies according to circumstances at the particular employer, DOL and the USCIS. The total processing time at DOL including prevailing wage determination (if necessary)/LCA, and USCIS processing can take as long as six to seven months or longer. Processing times at the USCIS service centers can vary, and you can check their processing times at the USCIS website.
What is the H-1B "cap"?
The cap refers to the limit of H-1B visas allowed per federal fiscal year (FY). A fiscal year begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th of the following year. Current regulations set the cap at 65,000 H-1B visas for the entire country. To check the latest cap count please visit the USCIS website.
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