Foreign nationals seeking work in the United States will need to acquire a visa, which can come in many different types. A very common visa among workers is the H-1B, also known as the temporary worker or specialty worker visa.
An occupation categorized as a specialty occupation is one that requires both theoretical and practical applications of a body of knowledge in its most exemplary form. It is achieved by attaining a bachelor's degree or higher, which is the minimum requirement to gain entry and fill a specialty occupation in the U.S. Fashion models of distinguished merit as well as professionals with jobs related to the U.S. Department of Defense are some other individuals who would fall into the specialty occupations category.
H-1B Visa Definition
The H-1B Visa is designed to entice primarily skilled professionals in specialty occupations. Commonly, individuals who have received an employment offer in the U.S. will seek help from an immigration lawyer, especially in cases wherein the employer does not want to be actively involved in the process for immigration.
Individuals granted with an H-1B are permitted to enjoy a period of temporary employment in the U.S. and the status will be considered valid as long as the visa holder remains with the employer who the petition is filed under. Should the H-1B visa holder be dismissed by the employer, he or she will be given the options to either seek employment from another company, to apply for a change of status, or to leave the country.
Who Qualifies for an H-1B Visa?
In order to receive an H-1B visa, the US-based employer would petition USCIS on behalf of the prospective employee, declaring the role to be filled within a specialty occupation position. The position would require a bachelor's degree or a degree from another country equal to that of a bachelor's in the U.S. That degree should also be related to the field of the open position.
While hiring an immigration attorney may seem like a matter of preference, many immigration matters that appear simple to the untrained eye can turn into nightmares should the tiniest piece of information be erred or omitted. An immigration lawyer will be able to prioritize the filing of your paperwork in a timely fashion, increasing your chance of obtaining an H-1B visa with little to no delay.
The H-1B Visa Process
The process of petitioning for an H-1B visa is the employer's responsibility and must be submitted according to the fiscal year, starting on the first business day of April. However, exceptions can be made for potential workers holding master degrees from one of the many universities across the U.S. In cases like these, the petition can be filed under the H-1B master's exemption category.
Any competent immigration attorney will advise that once a specialty worker has received a qualified offer of employment he or she should start the petition process as soon as possible, especially if the grantee is subject to the H-1B cap. Documents should be collected as early as January or February so that the petition will be ready for filing on the first business day of April. H-1B visas may be limited but the demand for specialty workers is high enough to allow early applicants to receive more favorable outcomes.