H-1B and other nonimmigrant work visas

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

Every year a limited number of nonimmigrant specialty workers have the opportunity to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis on employment-based visas.  Although these types of visas are geared towards professionals who hold a Bachelors degree or equivalent, information technology professionals account for a significant number of the beneficiaries of this type of temporary worker (H-1B) visas. The U.S. Department of State whose website contains more detailed explanations and resources issues fixed duration H-1B visas for eligible applicants[i]  who are outside the United States.  The USCIS website[ii] contains instructions and information on H-1B visas for professionals who seek to change their status from another nonimmigrant status or who seek to extend or amend their current H-1B status while they are in the U.S.

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

Eligible applicants for temporary worker visas must have the minimum of a have a Bachelor’s or equivalent.  Foreign degrees equivalent to the Bachelors and Masters should qualify for H-1B eligibility, however the degrees and work experience must be evaluated by an accredited evaluation service in the United States. The occupations in which foreign workers are engaged range from engineering and physical sciences to business, communication, and technologies. Service industry professionals including librarians, musicians, teachers, lawyers and judges may also enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants with H-1B visas in fixed duration and scope.

Limitations in temporary three-year periods of time and in limitations in the total number of new visas issued by the U.S. Department of State/USCIS each year differentiate the scope of H-1B visas from other temporary worker visas like the H-2A/B visas for temporary seasonal workers in agriculture or resorts, for example. There is also separate quota each year for Masters Degree holders that when reached allows Masters degree holders to be considered for visas initially allotted for Bachelor’s degree beneficiaries.  There are additional other types of work visas for unique circumstances and an experienced attorney should be consulted to ensure an application for the correct type of visa. Attorneys also help with soon to be expired visas, transfers, and applications for additional options to continue work, study or potential immigrant status in the U.S. based upon employment or family petitioners. 

H-1B visas are high competitive and applications are accepted annually beginning April 1st of each year for employment beginning October 1st of that same year.  In 2013, as we have seen in years previous, H-1B visa quotas were reached in one (1) week.  It is therefore essential to for companies to begin preparing immediately for their temporary worker needs.  To obtain an H-1B visa a petitioning company is legally obligated to pay for any and all filing fees and attorney’s fees as well as pay, at minimum, a federally determined prevailing wage as set by the Department of Labor. 

Families of H-1B workers may also apply to enter the U.S. with the H-4 visa, which has a separate process for approving applications, separate of the H-1B process. Family of worker visa recipients can be obtained from U.S. consulate offices in the originating country or USCIS processed as a change of status. Family members in the U.S. on H-4 visas may study at any university in the U.S. but they may not work in the U.S. under any circumstance. While in the U.S., an H-4 dependent must apply to change their immigration status and if they wish to work in the U.S., they can even apply to change to an H-1B visa, just like their originally eligible family member.

Immigration attorneys represent clients with the complex worker visa application process.

Applications for visas take several steps and must occur in proper order in accordance with the rules at the U.S. embassy where you apply. Experienced immigration attorneys know how to navigate the procedures involved in the application process, including the visa documentation and interview requirements, what a client should do to prepare, and what they can expect to happen. Additional information can be demanded during the processing period. Visa wait and processing times can be long and attorneys help with applications to expedite processing when it is appropriate.

Nonimmigrant professionals and their families who wish to enter the U.S. with temporary worker and family visas may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance with their worker visa applications. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. Ms. Mosley has worked extensively with companies to provide for their H-1B visas, L-1 visas, and PERM needs.  For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.


[i] U.S. Department of State website: Temporary Worker Visas

[ii] U.S. Customs and Immigration Services: Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers

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