INTENDED PURPOSE OF VISA
The employment of professionals (and fashion models) on a full-time or part-time basis in businesses in the United States.
H-1B (SPECIALTY OCCUPATION VISA)
IN ORDER TO QUALIFY
- The applicant must be sponsored by a U.S. business for a position, which is nationally recognized as requiring a Bachelor’s degree in order to perform it. To find out whether a position is recognized as professional (requiring a Bachelor’s degree) you can consult the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. SPECIAL NOTE: If you do not have a Bachelor’s degree, a provision known as the “3 for 1 rule” will allow you to substitute three years of relevant professional experience for each year that you lack toward a Bachelor’s degree.
- If you were not educated in the United States, you must have your diplomas and transcripts analyzed by an education evaluation company. I recommend Global Education Group for their good service and prices. However, clients are free to choose any education evaluation company that they wish. These services issue a report that informs the USCIS (US Immigration) of the equivalency of your foreign education in U.S. terms.
- The employer must agree to pay you the higher of the actual wage or the prevailing wage. The actual wage is what the employer pays or has paid another employee with the same position. The prevailing wage is determined by a survey conducted by each state’s Department of Labor. It reflects what an employee should be paid given the location of the job and its duties. The attorney obtains the prevailing wage on behalf of the sponsoring employer.
LENGTH OF VISA
This visa is valid for up to three years. It can be renewed for another three years, but a total stay of only six years in this status is permitted. There is an exception to allow one to extend their H-1B status beyond the sixth year pursuant to the AC21 law (however certain conditions must be met). This visa is specific to the petitioning employer and the employee must re-apply for the visa if changing jobs.
The following list contains items that are recommended and generally included in this type of application. Not all items may apply to your particular situation. In addition, you may have items and materials that would support your application that are not listed here. You should consult with the attorney to be certain:
- Copies of University Transcripts and Diplomas
- Education Evaluation Report (see discussion above)
- Employee’s Resume
- Letters of Reference from Prior Employers (if available)
- Copies of any prior H-1B approval notices
- Passport and proof of entry (if present in the U.S.)
If the applicant is lawfully present in the United States, he or she may be able to apply for a change to H-1B status at one of two regional Service Centers of the USCIS (US Immigration) which processes these types of petitions. The location, of course, will depend upon the location of the U.S. employer. This process is handled entirely by mail and no appearance by the applicant is necessary. If the applicant is outside of the U.S., the application is still processed at a Service Center. When it is approved, though, notification is sent to the U.S. Consulate in the country of the applicant’s residence.. There, the process is relatively straightforward to obtain the visa to enter the U.S. in H-1B status.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa. This means that it has a definite duration and the applicant must either leave the U.S. upon conclusion or change to another appropriate visa status. It is different from other nonimmigrant visas because it will allow you to maintain a dual intent (meaning that while you wish to enter the U.S. to work on a temporary basis, you would nevertheless like to remain in the U.S. permanently). While you are in H-1B status, you may decide that you would like to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis. In order to obtain lawful permanent residence through your job, you must proceed through the Labor Certification process.