What Are The Types of H-1 Work Visa?
The most popular non-immigrant visas are the B and H visas from all the categories of non-immigrant visas. The B visa category is designed for travel purposes for tourism as well as business, while the H category is for temporary workers in the U.S. Around 532,832 people obtained an H visa for the U.S in 2016 according to the U.S Department of State. The number of applicants was much larger.
The numbers prove that the H visas are one of the most popular work visas in the country. The H visa is divided into few types:
- H-1 visa – for temporary workers
- H-2 visa – for seasonal workers
- H-3 visa – for training
- H-4 visa – for spouses and children of H-1, H-2, and H-3 visa holders
The H-1 is people’s choice when it comes to going to the U.S. Just because of the high demand in the following article we will dig deeper into the procedures and details of the H-1 visa.
- What is H-1 Visa?
- H-1 Visa Types
- H-1 Visa Requirements
- H-1 Visa Application
- H-1 Visa Processing Time
- H-1 Visa Fees
- H-1 Extension
- H-1 Transfer
What is H-1 Visa?
The H-1 visa holder has the opportunity to temporarily work in the United States. The individual who has this type of visa can be employed in the U.S for a specific period of time that they have to put in their application. The maximum length of the stay for H-1 visa holder is 6 years.
Many people that are going to the U.S to work with different types of visas often stay beyond the visa expiry date working illegally. You expose yourself at risk of getting caught and getting deported, furthermore the U.S government will not give you a visa or allow you to enter the country in the future.
The benefit which H-1 visa provides is that you can work in the U.S legally and you will be a registered employee. You will not have to worry about getting caught and live in fear of being sent back to your country of origin. This is why the H-1 visa is one of the most popular visas among people who want to work in the U.S.
H-1 Visa Types
The H-1 visa also separates into a few different types, which people can apply and get. In this case, the segmentation is not done by the purpose of the travels because the applicant already has intentions of working in the U.S. The different types are based on the applicant’s field of expertise or education as well as the country of origin. The following are types of H-1 Visas:
H-1B Visas – Person in Specialty Occupation
People that will go to the U.S and work in what are called specialty occupations can obtain H-1B visas. These specialty occupations can be those that require a degree of higher education or its equivalent. This includes fields demanded by the U.S Department of Labor, such as Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral Degrees.
Furthermore, it can include occupations which require extensive training, for example, fashion models, or those occupations which have distinguished merit in the U.S. Occupations that are in a way related to government research and development of projects under the supervision of the Department of Defense, also qualify for the H-1B visa.
H-1B1 Visas – Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professionals from Chile and Singapore
The H-1B1 visas are similar to the H-1B visas, except that they are particularly designed for nationals of Chile and Singapore. With some countries, the U.S has a special Free Trade Agreement, and in this case, based on that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the governments of Chile and Singapore, people from these countries can come to the U.S and work temporarily.
In order to qualify for the H-1B1 visa, the applicants must have secondary degrees in their field of study as well as work in specialty occupations. There is another difference between the H-1B visa and the H-1B1 visa, which is that the H-1B1 visa does not require an approved petition from the USCIS.
H-1C Visas – Foreign Registered Nurses
This type of visa is only designed for one specific field of expertise, which is nursing. Since nurses are one of the most demanded professions in the U.S and the country has a deficit of qualified workers to fill this shortage, the U.S gives H-1C visas to foreign registered nurses and allows them to work in places where there are not enough nurses. The U.S Department of Labor will determine where the nurses will work since they analyze where nurses are demanded the most.
H-4: Spouses or Children of Other H visas Holders
We have to mention the H-4 visa since many H-1 visa holders have families and want to bring them to the U.S while they are working. This visa falls into a different category from the H-1 visas. This type of visa is designed for the spouse of an H-1 visa holder and their children who are under 21 years old.
H-1 Visa Requirements
Unlike most visa application procedures, the H-1 visa is initiated by the employer and not the employee who wants to get the visa. The U.S employer needs to take the following steps in order for the H-1 visa applicant is allowed to get the job position:
File a petition (Form I-129) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
By filing this petition, the employer proves that he is looking for a person of specialized knowledge and skills and they cannot find such a person within the United States. Both the employer and the person who wants to obtain the H-1 visa cannot apply for the visa until the petition is approved. When the petition is approved, USCIS will give you Form I-797
Department of Labor certification
Certification from the U.S Department of Labor must be obtained in order to get H-1B and H-1B1 visa.
The people who want to work in the U.S, specifically in the job position that the employer has posted, must apply for it and attach all the necessary documents. The employer must evaluate the candidates and needs to prove to the U.S government that the applicant(s) fulfill the necessary educational requirements to qualify for the H-1 visa.
Apply for the visa
After the approvals from DOL and USCIS, the employee or the individual wanting to get the U.S H-1 visa can start their application process.
H-1 Visa Application
Using the online DS-160 form the applicant can apply for H-1 visa and its types. This form, otherwise known as the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application is the first step where applicants will submit their detailed information, as well as their supporting documents.
They will get a confirmation page just after completing the DS-160 form which they need to print and have with them at the interview. Your local U.S Embassy will schedule the visa interview stationed in your home country. The result of the interview, as well as the DS-160 form, will serve the U.S Embassy to make their decision about granting you the visa or not.
You must bring some required documents to the visa interview, which you submitted on the DS-160 Form or directly in the U.S Embassy:
- The receipt number from the USCIS petition, which can be found in the I-129 form
- The receipt that proves you have paid all the necessary fees
- The original interview appointment letter and a copy
- Form I-129 (original and 1 copy)
- A valid passport for at least 6 months after your intended return from the U.S to your home country
- A photo that you will submit in the application based on the Digital Image Requirements.
- A letter from your employer describing your job position and their intention to hire you
- Degree and non-degree diplomas and certifications
- Letter from your previous employers on your employment history and skills
- Updated Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume
- If you are applying for an H-1B1 visa, you will also need to submit some proof that you intend to return to your home country after your visa has expired. To find out what sort of document you can submit as proof, you should contact your local U.S Embassy for more details.
H-1 Visa Fees
As in any US visa application, you will be required to pay some visa fees in order to apply for H-1 visa:
- Application fee – which for this category is $190 and is non-refundable
- Visa issuance fee – or reciprocity fee is applicable in some countries, and its amount is determined by your location.
- Additional fees – for H-1B applicants, if the company you will be working in has more than 50 employees and more than 50% of them are on H-1B or L-1 visas, there is an additional fee of $4,500.
H-1 Visa Processing Time
The processing time of your H-1 visa application may vary from country to country as well as the number of applications that the U.S Embassy received in that period. In order to have a rough estimate on the visa application processing time, visit this article.
Most of the H-1 visas are usually with a maximum of 3 years length. As the expiry date is getting closer you can always apply for an extension. You may be granted with usually one year or 3-year extension. However, it is important to know that the maximum time you are allowed to stay in the U.S is 6 years. As for people working on projects for the U.S Department of Defense, extensions can go up to 10 years.
Your employer must apply for your extension by filing the I-129 form for USCIS, but when it comes to your dependents (spouse and children), they should apply for an extension by filing the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539). Keep in mind that extensions must be done while your H-1 visa is still valid. If your H-1 visa expires you will be forced to go back to your home country and apply for the process again. You should apply for extensions at least 45 days before your visa expires, which is recommended by the U.S Department of State.
You must fulfill some necessary conditions if you want to extend your H-1 visa:
- Your visa has to be valid at the time of application to extend
- You have not committed any crimes while in the U.S
- You are a legal immigrant in the U.S
- You did not violate the terms of your admission into the country
- Your passport is valid and will remain so for the entire duration of your stay
When you are a temporary worker in the U.S and you want to switch employers you will use the H-1 transfer. In this process, there are no restrictions applied and the procedures are more or less similar to how you obtained your H-1 visa.
- Your new employer needs to file a new Form I-129 to USCIS (you will not need to have a new visa application since you already have a valid H-1 visa from your previous employer)
- Submit these documents:
- Copy of your I-94 Form (arrival form)
- Copy of your most recent I-797 form
- Copy of current visa stamp
- Copy of your social security card
- Copy of tax returns (if applicable)
- Copies of all pages of your passport
- Copy of your work experience and offer letters
- Copy of all your degrees and certificates
- Updated resume
- Recent paystubs
- If you have medical professions, you will need to submit a copy of your state license