With different kinds of Visas for people coming to live in the United States for work, it’s important that you and your employer know which one to apply for and how to meet the proper requirements. Petitioning for a Visa is a time and energy-intensive process. Don’t just dive in, know your waters.
To petition and get H-1B Visa status, there are five key requirements that you and your employer must prove you meet. These Visas are highly desirable and only 65,000 are issued every year with the exception of Visas for people working for institutions of higher education and in non-profit and government research centers.
Before you apply, make sure that you, your position, and your employer meet and can prove that you meet all five requirements:
1) Your job is a specialty occupation.
Is your job complex enough to require a specialized license or higher education degree such as a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree to perform effectively? To qualify for H-1B status, you must prove that your job is a specialty occupation requiring your specific training. You can prove this by providing the announcement for the job listing its minimum requirements, expert opinions, or documentation that positions similar to yours within the same industry require such degrees.
Of course, you must also provide that you have achieved these degrees and this requires a foreign credential evaluation. Even if you are over qualified for your position of employment, USCIS will not understand what your qualifications mean without an equivalency evaluation. When you are ready to have your credentials evaluated, you will need to choose a foreign credential agency. Some helpful tips in choosing the agency that’s right for you:
• Call and talk to them. If you don’t feel comfortable or cared for by your conversation, look somewhere else.
• Ask if you can call, text, or email them. A company that wants to work with you will use any medium you prefer.
• Ask for a superior’s phone number. At CCI, the executive director, Sheila Danzig will talk with everyone.
• Ask if they will work from copies of your educational documents. Your originals are valuable, could be difficult to obtain, and could get lost in the mail.
2) Your employer pays you’re the prevailing wage for your job
You and your employer must be able to prove that your wage or salary is the norm for your position in your industry in the geographical location of the company or organization you will be working for. This is a great benefit to holding H-1B status as it safeguards you from workplace exploitation. You can prove this by bringing in your paystubs if you are already employed by the employer petitioning for your H-1B status, your W-2 form, or have your employer provide proof they will pay you the prevailing wage.
3) There must be a legitimate employer-employee relationship
This means that in order to qualify for H-1B status, you and your employer must prove that your work can be controlled by your employer. This means they can hire, fire, pay, and supervise you. If this is not the nature of your working relationship, you are applying for the wrong Visa. It is possible to successfully petition for H-1B status for a company that you created since you do not need to be a US citizen to have a company in the United States, but in this case you must be paid out by this company and prove that you have a legitimate employee-employer relationship with it as well. It definitely wil require some research and guidance.
4) You must be working in an occupation related to your field of study.
To qualify for H-1B status, you must prove that your job in the US is related to your field of study. Your specific degree must be necessary to qualify you for the peculiarities of your job. You can prove this most easily by sending in the announcement for your position. If it requires a “Master’s degree or higher in sociology or a similar field” and your Master’s degree (or its equivalent proven through evaluation) is in sociology or a similar field, you’ve met this requirement. Another way to meet this criteria is to submit a resource listing professions that people with your degree tend to pursue. You can also submit opinions of experts in your field, proof that your employer and similar companies regularly hire people for your position with degrees in your field.
5) There must be an H-1B Visa number available when you file your petition
In the US there is an annual cap of 65,000 H-1B Visas available for each fiscal year. When you apply, there must be Visas available for you to apply for. Since the fiscal year in the United States begins October 1st, and you can submit your application as early as six months prior—April 1st of that year—you’re going to want to get on it as early as possible to ensure there will still be Visas available when you apply.
The first 20,000 petitions filed from people with advanced degrees—Master’s degree or higher or their equivalent—are exempt from the cap. Non-profit and government research center jobs and colleges and university jobs are also exempt. Even if your job or educational achievement is exempt from the cap, it’s always a good idea to get a head start when dealing with complex application processes and bureaucracy.
Ready to move forward on your H-1B Visa application? You will need a credential evaluation to prove that you are qualified for your specialty occupation.
For your free consultation with Sheila Danzig, Executive Director of CCI call 1-800-771-4723 or visit www.TheDegreePeople.com.
This article was written by Rebecca Little