Are you one of the people who aspire to work and reside in the United States of America? Are you ready to leave the comforts of your homeland and travel to another foreign country? If so, you need to do whatever it takes to land your dream job and dream country. It might take a long and tedious application process but once you succeed, all the efforts will be worth it.
Individuals who work in a particular field of specialization such as medicine, architecture, and education may have the opportunity to apply for non-immigrant work visas. This is more commonly known as the H-1B visa. This visa type is applied by the petitioning sponsors in the U.S. who want to hire foreign nationals as part of their manpower. One of the qualifying factors is that the applicant should have obtained a bachelor’s degree that is relevant to the target job position. The employer from the U.S. must provide the applicant a job offer letter with standard pay, good working conditions, and benefits. It is also their responsibility to acquire a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) before the application of the H-1B petition through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In 2019, the maximum number of 85,000 H-1B visas are issued within the year. From this number, a quota of 20,000 visas is allotted to applicants with higher educational attainment acquired from schools in the United States. The USCIS has modified the selection of H-1B petitions to raise the chances that the petition from the sub-group will be chosen. The foreign applicant will be allowed to work and live in the United States temporarily for three years under an H-1B visa. It may be possible to extend the duration for three years more. Therefore, the employer may hire a worker under the same visa type for a total of six years. The foreign national is allowed to apply for more than one H-1B visa petition as long as they are under different U.S. sponsors. The initial employer will not be permitted to sponsor various petitions for the same employee. In cases of some companies affiliated with the same petitioner, they might be able to apply for multiple H-1B visas for the same employee as long as they can verify the differences in the occupation.
An individual who is granted an H-1B visa is also eligible for international travel to and from the U.S. It may either be for personal or work purposes. When traveling back to the country, the H-1B visa holder should present valid travel documents such as a passport, H-1B visa, and accomplished Form I-94 to secure a re-entry permit. Also, they should obtain a supporting document from their U.S. employer to verify the continuation of their employment. For Canadian citizens, having an H1-B visa is not required. In place of it, they need to present the I-797 or the H-1B Approval Letter and their passport.
There are instances wherein the H-1B visa bearer works at another company other than his or her current employer. In this case, the initial employer needs to submit an official contract to the USCIS Office. The compliance of the employment agreement for both parties will be verified.
If you thought of switching jobs while you are under the H-1B visa, you are not required to reapply for another visa. The same stamp of your visa from your initial employer will be valid until the date of expiration. In cases of termination or resignation, you are expected to seek another employer for new sponsorship. You may also opt to apply for adjustment of status under another visa category. If you cannot succeed in either of the options, you will be forced to leave the country.
Holders of H-1B visas are allowed to take their spouse and children (unmarried and below 21 years old) with them in the U.S. using the H-4 dependent visa category. These family members may be allowed to study, drive, or open a bank account. However, they are strictly prohibited from working in the United States.
The validity of their stay will be the same as the validity of the H-1B visa. If, however, the H-1B visa is extended, it does not mean that the H-4 dependent status will be extended as well. It needs to be applied for visa extension separately. If the H-1B visa is about to expire, it must be renewed immediately. Otherwise, the H-4 dependents will be ineligible to stay and will be forced to leave the United States.
Although the H-1B visa falls under the non-immigrant visa category, it is considered as a visa with dual intent purposes. This means that the H-1B holder is eligible to apply for a change of status. He or she may apply to obtain lawful permanent residency status and become a green cardholder. This may be done by individuals who are intending to stay in the country for more than six years or permanently. If the application for legal permanent residence (LPR) is denied, the foreign national and the dependents will be forced to leave the country. They will only be allowed to re-enter the U.S. under the issuance of a new H-1B visa after one year.
Immigration officials often do random checks at different work locations of H-1B visa holders. These unannounced inspections are done to ensure that immigration laws and policies are strictly followed by the employers.
Start turning your dreams into reality. This may be the perfect opportunity that you should not miss. For inquiries and assistance in processing your H-1B visa application, do not hesitate to consult with our trusted immigration lawyers at Luis F. Hess, PLLC. Call us at (281) 626-5359 on how we can help you go through this process.