– Information on the H-1B Visa –
If you are asking,
“What is an H-1B Visa?” or “How do I complete the H-1B Petition?”
This short article on how to fill out an H-1B Visa application is for you.
What is the H-1B Visa?
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the H-1B is a nonimmigrant temporary visa used to work in a specialty occupation, including fashion models of distinguished merit and ability, government-to-government research and development, and co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.
The H-1B Visa requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. According to the USCIS, businesses in the U.S. use the H-1B visa system to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring expertise in specialized fields. This H-1B Visa is for scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and the like.
What is the H-1B Cap?
The H-1B cap is the government’s limitation on how many H-1B visas it will issue. The H-1B Visa regular cap is 65,000 visas, and the H-1B Visa’s Master’s Exemption cap amount is 20,000 visas. Those wishing to submit an H-1B visa application must keep in mind that the 2014 Cap season began on April 1, 2013.
What are exemptions to the H-1B Cap?
Not all H-1B applicants are subject to the yearly cap. In fact, some 6,800 visas are set aside every year for the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. If all of these 6,800 Chile and Singapore specials are not taken, then the extras are added in the next year. Other applicants are exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption for a person who obtained a U.S. master’s degree. However, after the first 20,000 applicants with U.S. Master’s degrees, those with a master’s degree are counted against the regular cap. The USCIS collects data from the Form I-129 to figure out whether an applicant is subject to the 65,000 H-1B cap.
How do you know if your H-1B application is subject to the Cap?
Applicants are exempt from the Cap if they will work at institutions of higher education nonprofit organizations, nonprofit research organizations, or governmental research organizations. Applicants who will work only in Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from the cap until Dec. 31, 2014.
How do you know when to start filing your H-1B Application?
The USCIS starts accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2013. You may apply 6 months in advance. Your employer must fill out a Form I-129, the H Classification Supplement to Form I-129, and the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement. Don’t forget to sign in black ink, include a signed check or money order and all required documentation and evidence requested. File everything at the correct USCIS Service Center.
What other documents do you need with my H-1B Petition?
Labor Condition Application – a certified Department of Labor Form ETA 9035.
Evidence of Beneficiary’s Educational Background – evidence of education credentials or, if the degree has not yet been awarded, a copy of the applicant’s final transcript and a letter from the Registrar confirming that all of the degree requirements have been met.
Duplicate copy of H-1B Application – a duplicate copy of your H-1B petition and any subsequent response to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny.
How much does it cost to apply for an H-1B Visa?
The base filing fee is $325;
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act fee is $750 for employers with 1-25 full time employees, and $1,500 for 26 or more;
Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is $500 on initial application or change of employer;
Public Law 111-230 fee is $2,000 for employers with 50 or more employees;
Premium Processing fee is $1,225.
Checks should be made payable to Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, dated within the last 6-months, and must include the proper guarantee amount and signature.
How should you organize your H-1B package?
Clearly label all H-1B cap cases, preferably in red ink, on the top margin of Form I-129, with the following codes: (i) Regular Cap (65,000), (ii) C/S Cap (Chile/Singapore), or (iii) U.S. Master’s (20,000).
Put the documents in the following order:
Provide a Table of Contents for supporting documentation
Duplicate copy of the petition, if necessary. Clearly identify the duplicate copy of the petition as “COPY”, so that it is not mistaken for a duplicate filing.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Best of luck!
Miami International Attorneys
What is a W Visa?
The W Visa is the World Visa. The W Visa was initiated in 2004 by George W. Bush, in an effort to provide an unlimited work visa to any applicant worldwide, so long as no U.S. citizen wanted to take the same job. Bush had announced that immigration reform was a top agenda item, but the W Visa never reached application. Recent permutations of the W Visa are extraordinarily flexible, allowing workers to switch between different U.S. employers. This type of transferability does not exist under the current U.S. immigration regime. W Visa holders would also be able to apply for permanent residence—a green card—on their own.
The W Visa and the Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act
Senators Kyl and Coryn reintroduced the idea of a W Visa, or World Visa, in the CEIRA law (the “Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005”). CEIRA has received negative reviews for its amnesty provisions. Critics of CEIRA believe that the bill is a scheme to import new foreign workers and provide amnesty for illegal aliens. The bills also may provide new H-4A and H-4B visa categories. Some interpret these new visas to provide relief for aliens that have overstayed their work visa without authorization. Some interpret the new H-4A and H-4B visas to simply import aliens for three years, allow renewal for three years, and then provide a green card.
New reports of the W Visa
Reports of the W Visa have resurfaced because an immigration compromise involving the W Visa has recently cleared a major hurdle in Congress. The bill may legalize the stay of some 11 million unauthorized immigrants. The AFL-CIO (the U.S.’s largest labor union) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have reslated the W Visa to bring in up to 200,000 foreign workers to perform janitorial, hospitality, and construction jobs.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated that “we expect that this new program, which benefits not just business, but everyone, will promote long overdue reforms by raising the bar for existing programs.” The W Visa is aimed at low-skill jobs.
What the W Visa provides
Under current plans, the W Visa Program could start as early as April 2015, providing 20,000 visas at initiation, ramping up to 35,000 by year two, 55,000 by year three, and 75,000 visas by year four. Legislators hope that the W Visa’s allotment of permits would reflect demand reports from the immigration bureau.
Regarding the W Visa’s flexibility, the Legislators propose that entries and exits of W Visa workers will be monitored and tracked to ensure compliance with immigration regulations. Regarding applications for a green card, Legislators propose a point system to determine priority in granting permanent residency. Those applicants that have worked continuously for three years will gain priority. Other points include whether the applicant has an employer sponsor, whether the worker received promotions or pay increases during employment, whether the worker paid taxes, the worker’s English proficiency, the worker’s education, and the worker’s criminal background.
We will be waiting to see how the W Visa fits into the U.S. overall immigration reform in the coming year.
If you have any questions or require assistance with your immigration preparation, please do not hesitate to ask.
Miami International Attorneys, P.L.