H1B Visas: Experienced H-1B visa lawyer
H-1B Quota Aniticipated to Be Exhausted Quickly
Based on the surging economy and stock market and the early closure of the H-1B cap quota last year on June 11, 2012, this year's H-1B cap could be reached as early as the month of April 2013. Although there is speculation that the cap may be increased by Congress to 115,000 from its current quota of 65,000, that will likely take effect towards the end of this year or the beginning of next. Clients are advised to move quickly to begin the H-1B process and file their applications on April 1, 2013 before the cap is reached. Good Luck!
Why Choose the Law Office of Keshab Raj Seadie, PC, to file your H1B Visa?
Are you ready to file H-1B on April 1st, 2013? Call us at 212-571-6002 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, company and phone number.
The United States of America is the most sought after destination for foreign professionals to test their intellectual, entrepreneurial, and technical limits. Due to the open immigration policy, highly talented professionals have been able to enter the US in record numbers. Our expert H1B visa lawyers have successfully processed more than 25,000 H1B Visas, representing hundreds of IT businesses and other US companies, as well as individuals throughout the United States.
We have in-depth knowledge of H1B jobs in many industries including Computer Programming, Business and Finance, Market Research, Accounting, Investment Banking, Academia (University Professors), Scientific areas, Healthcare, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Engineering, Architecture, Transportation and the Airline Industry, to name a few. Read our Client Testimonials!
We have a 99% H1B approval rate! We have received H1B approvals for many different job categories, including:
(Review from InsiderPages)
FREE PHONE CONSULTATION AND CASE EVALUATION: Upon careful evaluation of your degree and the employing company's profile, we will provide an honest opinion on the potential success of your case. We will also suggest possible alternatives so that you still have a chance of getting an H1B visa. Keep in mind that the Bachelor's degree requirement can be fulfilled through either 4 years of academic coursework in the relevant field or via 12 years of relevant work experience. We provide comprehensive H1B services including, but not limited to, case evaluations, recommendations of prevailing wage, preparation of LCA and immigration documents, submission to the USCIS, responses to Requests for Additional Evidence (RFE), and US Embassy and Consulate representation for outbound H1Bs and H-4s for dependent family members. We process cases efficiently-our turn around time for H1B cases is 3-4 business days, yet our rate is very reasonable and competitive! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.
To consult one of our expert H1B visa lawyers, please call us at 212-571-6002.
H1B visa Overview
H1B visas are a category of nonimmigrant worker visa designed to allow foreign citizens to work in the US temporarily in specialty occupations. These visas are available for skilled workers who hold a relevant four-year college degree (either a Bachelor's degree from a US institution or the equivalent from a foreign institution) or who have equivalent work experience. Fashion models of distinguished merit are also eligible for H1B visas.
How many H1Bs are available every year?
Under the current law, the number of available visas per fiscal year is:
- 65,000 in the general pool
- 20,000 additional allotted to those with graduate degrees from US universities
- Unlimited visas for non-profit and government research laboratories and universities
- 6,800 of those 65,000 are reserved for the H1B1 program under terms of the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements
H1B Visa filing fee for 2013
The employer is required to pay the filing fees associated with the H1B visa petition. The fees include:
Filing fee of $325
ACWIA fee of $750 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $1500 for employees with more than 25 employees (some exemptions may apply for this fee)
$500 Fraud Prevention and Detection fee (required when an employer is sponsoring an employee for the first time)
Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H1B petitions (additional fee applies to petitioners who employ 50+ employees in the US with more than 50% of its employees in the US on H1B or L visas; additional fee is applicable to new and change of status petitions, but not for extensions)
$1,225 Premium Processing Fee (optional)
Attorney Fee: please call us at (212) 571-6002
All fees must be paid by the employer; however, the premium processing fee may be paid by the employee if the premium processing was initiated by the employee for his or her own benefit, and not for the benefit of the employer.
H1B Period of Stay
H1B visas are awarded for three (3) year time periods. The visa may be extended, so that a foreign skilled employee may work in the US for a maximum of six (6) years. After six years, the foreign national must leave the US for at least one (1) year before he/she can return on a new H1B.
· H1B Frequently Asked Questions
· H1B Application Procedure
· H-4 Visas for Spouses and Children
What is the role of the Law Office of Keshab Raj Seadie, PC, in applying for an H1B visa?
Obtain the job description and company profile from the H1B Employer and the academic and work experience record of the H1B Employee
Analyze the job being offered and the beneficiary's education and work experience to determine if the specialist/professional criteria are satisfied
Gather documents and data to support the application
Evaluate and document the prevailing wage for the job being offered
Document the employer's actual wage
Prepare the LCA for the employer
File the LCA with the Department of Labor (please note that it takes around 7 business days to obtain a certified Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor)
Obtain an evaluation of the employee's college education if it was obtained outside the US, to show that it is equivalent to a US degree
Prepare an H1B petition and employer letter of support and send them to the employer for review and signature
File the LCA and H1B petition with the USCIS once the DOL approves the LCA
H1B approvals are usually issued within two to three months from the date of filing with the USCIS, unless premium processing is used (the H1B process differs somewhat for an employee who is overseas or who has a valid H1B visa from a previous employer)
All cases are completed within 3-4 business days from the submission of complete file
View the Top 100 H1B Visa Sponsors of 2012
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an H1B visa?
What is a specialty occupation?
How can foreign nationals show that they qualify for an H1B visa?
Who qualifies as a US employer?
What obligations does the employer have to the H1B visa holder?
What is the prevailing wage?
What is the Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
What is the LCA posting requirement?
What records must the Employer keep with regard to H1B visa petitions?
What is the process for applying for an H1B visa?
What is premium processing?
Does an H1B worker have to work all the time to remain in status?
What happens if an H1B worker is "benched"?
May an H1B holder work for multiple employers?
What happens if circumstances change for the H1B employee or the employer?
May an H1B worker change jobs?
May an H1B visa holder file for an H1B transfer upon termination?
How many H1Bs are available every year?
Does the annual cap apply to everyone who applies for an H1B visa?
What is the maximum stay on an H1B visa?
May an H1B be extended beyond the 6 year maximum?
What status is available for the spouse and child of an H1B worker?
May an H1B visa holder travel outside the US?
May an H1B visa holder immigrate permanently to the US?
1. What is an H1B visa?
An H1B visa allows foreign nationals to come temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. H1Bs are also awarded to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
2. What is a specialty occupation?
A "specialty occupation" is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as an occupation that requires both:
• Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; AND
• Attainment of a Bachelor's degree or higher in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
The job must meet one (1) of the following criteria:
1. A Bachelor's degree or higher is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position
2. The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
3. The employer normally requires the degree or the equivalent for the position; or
4. The nature of the duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform them is usually associated with the attainment of a Bachelor's Degree or higher
Examples of specialty occupations include positions in accounting, architecture, the arts, business, computers, education, engineering, law, mathematics, medicine and health, the physical sciences, the social sciences and theology.
3. How can foreign nationals show that they qualify for an H1B visa?
Applicants must possess a relevant four-year college degree or equivalent work experience to qualify. In addition, they must have an offer of employment from a US employer who is willing to act as their H1B sponsor.
4. Who qualifies as a US employer?
US immigration law defines an employer as "a person or entity who engages the services or labor of an employee to be performed in the United States for wages or other remuneration."
5. What obligations does an employer have to the H1B visa holder?
The US employer must make a written commitment in a Labor Condition Application (LCA). In it the employer agrees to:
- Pay the H1B employee the prevailing wage for the position being offered
- Provide the same working conditions for H1B employees as for American workers
- Abide by Department of Labor regulations or be subject to payment of back wages, penalties, and exclusion from immigration programs
6. What is the prevailing wage?
The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed American workers in the requested occupation in the area of intended employment. This wage rate is usually obtained by contacting the State Workforce Agency (SWA) which has jurisdiction over the geographic area of intended employment or from another legitimate source of information, such as the Online Wage Library. The most common wage survey that is used is the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
7. What is the Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
Not to be confused with the Labor Certification Application used in the green card process, the Labor Condition Application is an integral part of obtaining an H1B visa. The Immigration Act of 1990 requires that the H1B petitioner file an LCA with the Department of Labor prior to filing the H1B petition. The qualified US employer must indicate the following on the LCA in reference to the H1B employee:
8. What is the LCA posting requirement?
- Job title
- Actual salary (or salary range)
- Occupational code
- That the employer is offering at least the prevailing wage
- Source of the prevailing wage
- That the alien will be paid at least the prevailing wage or actual wage, whichever is higher for the specific position
- That there is no strike or lockout in the occupation at the place of employment
- That it has given notice of the filing to employees; and
- That working conditions will not adversely affect other workers similarly employed
The signed LCA must be posted for ten business days in two conspicuous locations (such as notice boards or within the vicinity of the water cooler) at the place of employment. If this is a unionized job or there is a bargaining representative for the position, the notice must be given to the bargaining representative.
The H1B employer also has an obligation to give a copy of the LCA to the H1B workers and post further notices when the alien goes to work off-site. The employer must file a new LCA and amended H1B petition in cases where an H1B holder is posted at a different location long term. The law requires the employer to pay per diem at a federal government level as well as transportation expenses when an alien goes to work off-site. Violations of these regulations may result in stiff penalties to the employer, and the H1B alien may go out of status.
9. What records must the Employer keep with regard to H1B visa petitions?
The employer is required to have a Public Access File on the business premises. This file must contain the following:
10. What is the process for applying for an H1B visa?
- Source of Prevailing Wage
- Actual Wage Information
- Other compliance documents
The sponsoring US employer submits an LCA to the Department of Labor. The DOL certifies the LCA and returns it to the employer, who then files Form I-129 with the USCIS. For more information please see our Application Process section.
11. What is premium processing?
The Premium Processing service offered by USCIS offers American employers faster processing of their petitions for H1B visas and certain other forms of immigration status. The US employer pays a $1,225 premium with a guarantee from the USCIS that if the petition is not processed within 15 calendar days, the premium will be refunded.
12. Does an H1B worker have to work all the time to remain in status?
No. The USCIS considers that holders of H1B visas remain in status as long as the employee/employer relationship continues to exist. As a result, H1B workers may work part-time (as long as there is an approved amended I-797), as well as full time, and may go on vacation or sick leave, or maternity/paternity leave, so long as the employee/employer relationship is considered intact.
13. What happens if an H1B worker is "benched"?
A "benched" employee is one who is not working temporarily because no work is available at the time. The employee retains his or her H1B status and is still entitled to receive the compensation specified in the LCA. If the employer fails to pay the wage, it must provide back pay and risks penalties for failing to meet the LCA conditions. However, the employer does not have to compensate H1B employees who take time off for personal reasons unless the employer normally does this for other employees.
14. May an H1B holder work for multiple employers?
Yes. However, each employer must file its own concurrent H1B petition. Further, the employer who originally filed the H1B petition may also place the H1B employee at another work site, but only if all Department of Labor and other applicable USCIS rules are followed.
15. What happens if circumstances change for the H1B employee or the employer?
The United States government requires an amended petition when the H1B employee:
- Works in a new location different from that specified in the LCA
- Takes on job duties that differ significantly from those described in the I-129 petition; or
- Transfers to a different legal entity within the employer's corporate structure
An amended petition must also be filed if:
- The employer's tax identification number changes; or
- The H1B employer merges with another company that establishes a third entity that will employ the alien
US immigration law does not require an amended petition if a change in the employer's legal structure results in a new entity that assumes all the rights and obligations of the original H1B employer.
16. May an H1B worker change jobs?
An H1B worker may change H1B employers without affecting status, but the new H1B employer must file a new Form I-129 petition for the alien before he or she begins working for the new employer, and the following conditions must apply:
17. May an H1B visa holder file for an H1B transfer upon termination?
- The H1B worker entered the US lawfully the last time he or she entered the country
- The employee has never been employed without authorization since his or her last lawful admission; and
- The H1B transfer petition is not considered frivolous
The simple answer is No. An H1B visa holder is considered to be out of status on the day of termination. In order to remain legal in the US, the H1B visa holder must file for H1B transfer or change of status prior to being terminated from the present H1B employment.
18. How many H1Bs are available every year?
Since the Fiscal Year 2004, the cap for new H1B visas has been 65,000 per fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who hold a US Master's Degree or higher are exempt from this cap.
6,800 of those 65,000 are reserved for the H1B1 program under terms of the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.
19. Does the annual cap apply to everyone who applies for an H1B visa?
No. The cap only applies to new H1B visa petitions. Certain individuals are exempt from the cap, such as:
20. What is the maximum stay on an H1B visa?
- H1B employees of exempt organizations, such as institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations affiliated with institutions of higher education, and nonprofit or government research organizations
- Current holders of H1B visas who are applying for extensions of those visas or who are filing amended H1B petitions because of a change in employers or the terms of employment; and petitions for concurrent H1B employment
The initial petition for an H1B visa is approved for a maximum of three years, a period that begins when the foreign national arrives in the United States. The visa may be extended for an additional three years, for a total maximum of six years. The person must leave the US for one year following the six-year period, but then may re-enter the US on a new H1B visa.
21. May an H1B be extended beyond the 6-year maximum?
Yes. An H1B may be extended beyond the initial six years in one-year increments if an H1B visa holder has a Labor Certification, or an I-140 Immigrant Petition pending for more than one year prior to the end of the six-year period. If the H1B visa holder has an approved I-140, Immigrant Petition, the H1B may be extended in increments of three years beyond the initial six-year period.
22. What status is available for the spouse and/or child of an H1B worker?
The H-4 visa is for the spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 accompanying or following an H1B applicant to the US. H-4 visas are valid for the same length of time as that of the H1B. US law forbids H-4 visa holders to engage in any kind of gainful employment, but they may attend school while in the US.
23. May an H1B visa holder travel outside the United States?
Yes, anyone holding a valid H1B visa may travel outside the US and re-enter the country during the period that the visa is valid. Generally, Adjustment of Status applicants need Advance Parole to travel outside the US. An exception to this basic rule exists for H and L visa holders. They are allowed to travel abroad without an Advance Parole provided they have a pending adjustment of status application and have been maintaining valid H or L status while the adjustment application is pending.
24. May an H1B visa holder immigrate permanently to the US?
Yes, H1B workers may apply for permanent residency in the US on the basis of employment in the US. One of the advantages of having an H1B visa is its "dual intent" allowance. This means the beneficiary (H1B visa worker) may have immigrant intent and still be eligible for the visa. Thus, the beneficiary may simultaneously maintain his or her H1B visa while pursuing a permanent labor certification or other immigrant classification.
Before a beneficiary may apply for an H1B visa, the prospective US employer must first file both a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor and a Nonimmigrant Worker Petition on behalf of the beneficiary to the USCIS (Form I-129). The Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker should be submitted to the appropriate USCIS Service Center along with the DOL-certified LCA. Only after the employer's I-129 petition has been approved may the worker apply for the H1B visa.
The prospective H1B worker who is outside the United States may then apply with the US Department of State (DOS) at a US embassy or consulate abroad for an H1B visa. Regardless of whether a visa is required, the prospective H1B worker must then apply to US Customs and Border Protection for admission to the United States in H1B classification.
H-4 visas are a special category of visa designed for the spouses and children under the age of 21 of H1B visa holders. The status allows them to stay with the principal applicant, the H1B visa holder, in the US through the duration of the H1B worker's status. These dependents should apply directly at a US consulate for their visas; the same I-129 approval notice is valid for them as for the principal applicant.
Those in the derivative status conferred by an H-4 visa are ineligible to work in the US. However, an H-4 visa does allow a derivative to study in the US.
Spouses and children requesting a change of status or extension of stay in a dependent nonimmigrant classification must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.