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Understanding the H-1B Visa Process

Immigration Lawyer West Covina

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These specialty occupations include fields such as technology, engineering, medicine, and education. The H-1B visa process can be complex and confusing, which is why it’s important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. At the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq., we specialize in immigration law and have helped many employers and employees navigate the H-1B visa process in the Los Angeles and Greater West Covina area.

Eligibility

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, an individual must have a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation and have the appropriate level of education and/or experience. The job offer must also be for a full-time position and the individual must have the required credentials to perform the job. Additionally, the employer must be willing to sponsor the individual for the H-1B visa.

H-1B Visa Cap

The H-1B visa has a yearly cap of 85,000 visas, which includes a 20,000 visa exemption for individuals with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. These visas are highly sought after, and in recent years, the demand has exceeded the supply. As a result, a lottery system is used to determine which petitions will be selected for processing. This is why it is important to have an experienced attorney to help you with the H-1B visa process as they can help increase your chances of winning the lottery.

Process

The H-1B visa process begins with the employer filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Once the LCA is approved, the employer can then file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include documentation such as the LCA, the employee’s qualifications, and the job offer. After the petition is filed, the employee may also be required to attend an interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their home country.

Examples of Specialty Occupation

Specialty occupation refers to a job that requires a high level of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field. Some examples of specialty occupations include:

  • Technology: Software developers, computer systems analysts, and network architects are examples of technology-related jobs that qualify as specialty occupations.
  • Engineering: Engineers, including civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers, are also considered specialty occupations.
  • Medicine: Physicians, nurses, and physical therapists are examples of medical professions that qualify as specialty occupations.
  • Education: Professors and teachers at the college or university level are also considered specialty occupations.

Documentation and Proof

It is important to note that the employer must provide documentation and proof that the job offered is a specialty occupation, that the employee is qualified for the job, and that the employer will pay the employee the prevailing wage for the job. Some of the documents that may be required include:

  • Proof of the employee’s education and qualifications, such as transcripts and diplomas
  • Proof of the employee’s experience and skills, such as letters of recommendation
  • A detailed job description
  • Proof of the prevailing wage for the job, such as a survey or an opinion letter from the DOL

The process of collecting and submitting the necessary documents can be time-consuming and complex. An experienced attorney can help you ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and proof to increase your chances of a successful H-1B visa petition.

Duration and Renewal

The initial period of stay for an H-1B visa is three years, and it can be extended for an additional three years. After the six years, the individual will have to leave the U.S. for at least one year before being eligible for another H-1B visa.

It is important to note that the process for renewing an H-1B visa is similar to the initial application process and requires the same documentation and proof. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the renewal process and ensure that your H-1B visa is extended in a timely manner.

Common Pitfalls and Mistakes

The H-1B visa process can be complex and confusing, and there are many common pitfalls and mistakes that employers and employees make. Some of these include:

  • Failing to provide the necessary documentation and proof
  • Failing to pay the prevailing wage
  • Failing to renew the H-1B visa in a timely manner
  • Not adequately describing the job as a specialty occupation
  • Not demonstrating that the employee is qualified for the job
  • Not demonstrating that the employer is a U.S. employer

Alternative Visas

It is important to note that the H-1B visa is not the only option for employers and employees. Other visa options include the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees, the E-3 visa for Australian citizens, and the TN visa for citizens of Canada and Mexico. 

Best Immigration Lawyer in West Covina

The H-1B visa process can be complex and confusing, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can navigate the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome. At the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq., we specialize in immigration law and have helped many employers and employees in the Los Angeles and Greater West Covina area successfully obtain H-1B visas. Contact us today for a consultation and let us help you navigate the complex H-1B visa process. As an immigration attorney in Los Angeles and West Covina, we understand the importance of the H-1B visa process and are dedicated to providing you with the best guidance.

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