The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101. It allows employers in the US to temporarily employ graduate-level foreign professionals in specialty occupations for three to six years. It can be very useful for both American employers and foreign employees, as it allows immigrants to legally live and work in the US for a certain amount of time.
Specialty occupations include those that require technical or theoretical know-how in certain fields, such as engineering, IT, finance, accounting, science, medicine, architecture, science, and mathematics.
Applying for an H-1B is generally quicker and easier than applying for a green card, but it can be as confusing. You need Buhler Thomas Law, P.C., a Utah law firm that understands H1 visas.
Qualifying for an H-1B Visa
To qualify, the individual must have a bachelor’s degree, or a higher degree from an accredited university or college in the specialty occupation. If they are holding a foreign degree, it must be an educational equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree.
The foreign worker may also show degree equivalence through work experience (at least 12 years) or other qualifications. The law considers three years of specialized experience as equivalent to one year of college education. For instance, if a candidate has an associate degree of 3 years, they must have at least another 3 years of relevant post-graduate experience to be qualified for H-1B visa.
In certain areas where state licensure is a requirement, such as in nursing and education, the individual must have passed the licensure exam as well.
H-1B Visa Requirements
The foreign workers are not the ones to apply for an H-1B visa for themselves – that responsibility goes to the employer.
The employer must prove that the position they want to fill meets the criteria:
- Has a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s degree
- The job is so complex that it can only be done by someone with a degree
- The employer requires a degree on an equivalent position
During the stay, the only requirement is that the employee continues working for the sponsoring employer. The employee must submit an H-1B Change of Employer (COE) petition when changing employers to stay in status.
H-1B Visa Process
To start the process, employers should file an H-1B petition with the help of one of our H-1B attorneys in Utah. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must approve it before the start of the employment date.
What Happens if the Employee Quits or is Dismissed
If a foreign worker holding an H-1B visa is fired or quits from the employer, they must either apply for a change to another non-immigrant status or leave the country. They also have the option to find another employer, which will be subject to an application for adjustment of status or change of visa, or both.
Call Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. at 801-960-3346 to start the application process. You may also contact us online through the contact page to schedule an initial consultation.