For many U.S. companies that depend on workers who possess specialized skills in information technology, engineering, math, science, and other areas, they often rely on workers coming to the U.S. from other nations. However, for these individuals to do so legally, they must apply for and obtain an H-1B visa for specialty workers. Yet like most visa applications, the process can be time-consuming, involve deadlines, and have many details that must be followed to have any chance of the process being successful. If you need additional information on the application process or are experiencing difficulties along the way, it is best to work with a non immigrant visa lawyer in Los Angeles from Alami Law who has experience handling these complex cases.
Since the occupations that fall under the H-1B visa are of a very technical nature, educational requirements are often quite high. In most cases, applicants for this visa must possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in their field, or be able to demonstrate a combination of work experience and other qualifications that would be equivalent to a college-level education.
Can Individuals Apply Directly for an H-1B Visa?
As an individual, you are not allowed by law to apply directly for an H-1B visa. Instead, the employer wishing to bring you to the United States must complete the application process. However, since these visas can be extended for up to six years, it can be very difficult to have a petition be successful. Therefore, always speak with a US tourist visa lawyer in Los Angeles as quickly as possible once you have a need for this specialized visa.
Applying for a Green Card
Since it can be so difficult to have a successful petition for an H-1B visa, many people wanting to work in the U.S. believe they will have a better chance if they simply apply for a Green Card. However, the visa application process is actually much quicker that applying for a Green Card. In most cases where employers want to bring workers to the U.S. for long-term work assignments, they instead look to other types of visas to accomplish their goal, such as L-1B for specialized workers or L-1A for executives and managers. Depending on the type of job and the worker’s anticipated role within a company, these may be viable options to consider. But before going ahead with any type of visa application process, always consult first with visa attorneys in Los Angeles from Alami Law.
Since there are a limited number of H-1B visas available each year, employers must apply as early as possible to have any chance of having their petitions approved. In most cases, this means applying six months before the actual start date of the visa. For example, if an employer applies for the visa on April 1, the employee would not be able to begin work until October 1, so always keep this in mind. Should there be any discrepancies or disputes surrounding application or start dates, do not hesitate to contact an H visa lawyer in Los Angeles from Alami Law for assistance.
The Annual Cap
For employers and those wanting to come to the U.S. on an H-1B visa, they often do not realize the U.S. government has an annual cap on the number of visas awarded each fiscal year. Under current law, the federal government allows for 85,000 H-1B visas to be granted annually. Of these, 65,000 are reserved for overseas workers in specialty occupations who possess at least a Bachelor’s degree, while the remaining 20,000 are given to those individuals who possess advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. Due to high demand in recent years, the federal government now uses a lottery system to award these visas to employers. To make sure you understand the details associated with this system, consult with an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles from Alami Law.
For a job to meet the criteria established by the government for an H-1B visa, it must be so specialized, unique, and complex that it can only be done by an individual possessing certain educational and work experience. In addition, the employer making the request must normally require at least a Bachelor’s degree for those working in the job. Should you have questions about this, work with a non immigrant visa lawyer in Los Angeles with a track record of success handling these cases.
For an employee to accept an H-1B visa from an employer, they also must meet certain criteria. These include possessing at least a U.S. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, have a foreign degree equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree, hold a certification in the specialty area for which they will be employed, or have job experience that shows progressive levels of responsibility equivalent to someone who possesses a Bachelor’s degree. Since these requirements can be confusing at times, rely on the advice of a US tourist visa lawyer in Los Angeles from Alami Law.
How Long is H-1B Visa Valid?
When an H-1B visa is granted, it is valid for an initial period of three years. However, that period can be extended an additional three years if proven to be necessary. In addition, once an individual possesses an H-1B visa, they can then choose to apply for a Green Card, since the H-1B visa is considered to be dual-intent. However, prior to starting this process, always speak to visa attorneys in Los Angeles from Alami Law.
Family and Dependents
Upon obtaining an H-1B visa, a person can then bring their spouse and children who are under age 21 to the United States. Once this happens, family and dependents can remain in the U.S. so long as the H-1B visa holder has legal status. To ensure this process goes smoothly, rely on the experience of an H visa lawyer in Los Angeles from Alami Law, since it will be crucial to work with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in Los Angeles who ensures rights are protected from start to finish.