To obtain an H-1B visa, there must be a job offer and an employer who is willing to sponsor an individual by filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). The USCIS will review the petition and send an approval notice if all conditions for approval are met.
H-1B Visa Requirements
- The employer must provide an official job offer. An official job offer signifies that documented evidence can be presented to show a true business need.
- Financial compensation for the position must be equal to or greater than the prevailing wage for the specific occupation in the geographic area of intended employment.
- There are only 85,000 H-1B visas available each year. If all 85,000 have been filled you will not receive one.
- You cannot sponsor yourself as an employer and employee.
- The job offered must be filed as a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation calls for a bachelor’s degree or an advanced level of education certification.
- Education Requirements
- The bachelor’s or advanced degree must originate from an accredited university or college. The degree is required to relate to the H-1B specialty position. If the degree was obtained outside the United States, it must be equivalent to an available U.S. degree.
- Work experience is not a pre-requisite if holding a bachelor’s degree. Education requirements may be substituted with necessary work experience. The general rule for the amount of accepted work experience is considered 1 year required of University = 3 years of work experience.
- Examples of qualified positions are engineers, professors, researchers, medical, accountants, attorneys, and architects – thus professional occupations requiring minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
What if my sponsoring company is a startup?
The main challenge for a startup attempting to sponsor an H-1B visa is proving to the USCIS that they have the cash flow to pay the foreign national the prevailing wage and proving they have enough work for the individual.
Other items the USCIS might request for proof that the business entity is indeed legitimate and there is enough work for the H-1B individual can include, but isn’t limited to, the following:
- Business plans
- Employee contracts
- Office space leases
- Annual reports
- Tax returns
- Vendor contracts
- Letters of recommendation from investors
- Contracts with clients
- Statements of Work
- Organizational chart
- Bank account statements
- Quarterly tax returns
- Marketing material
- Payroll summaries
- Office lease
In short, a company without a proven track record of business activities, profits, and revenues will incur additional scrutiny from the USCIS to prove that it is indeed a viable business. However, this should not discourage such businesses from contacting an experienced immigration attorney to pursue the case.
What is the period of authorization to say?
As an H-1B non-immigrant worker, you may be admitted for a period of up to three years. Your time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years, though some exceptions do apply under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21). Your employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of your return transportation if your employer terminates you before the end of your period of authorized stay. Your employer is not responsible for the costs of your return transportation if you voluntarily resign your position.
Will my H-1B Visa lead to a Green Card?
As with other visas, the H-1B requirements require that you must be entering the United States temporarily and not for permanent work. However, the H1B visa is part of a group of visas that allow for ‘dual intent.’ This means you can enter on a temporary basis with the visa and at the same time have the same employer or a different employer apply for a Green Card on your behalf, which, when completed, would allow you to live in the US permanently.
Our Austin Immigration lawyer will help you gather the required information and documentation for the H-1B visa. We then we carefully prepare all letters and forms needed to obtain your H-1B approval. We’ll communicate with you (the employee & the employer) throughout the process, and with both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) while the application is being processed.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if a H-1B Visa may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!