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H-1B Visa/Status – Specialty Occupations

The first step toward a successful immigration to the United States is identifying the appropriate visa status for your needs or for those of your company. In some cases, this requires seeking H-1B Visa/Status. To learn more, contact Austin immigration lawyer William Jang at the Law Offices of William Jang, PLLC at 512-323-2333.

Basic Requirements:

H1B Visa/Status is available for individuals in a specialty occupation (commonly referred to as professional occupations). The basic requirement is that the individual has a bachelor’s or higher degree or equivalent experience and has a job offer in a related profession where the minimum entry-level requirement for that job is at least a bachelor’s degree. This status/visa requires that the employer pay the prevailing wage for the offered position.

Annual Cap:

Unfortunately H-1B visas/status are subject to an annual cap. Only 65,000 new H1B visa/status for regular H1B cases can be approved each fiscal year. The fiscal year for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) starts on the first day of October of each year. An H1B petition can be filed up to six months in advance (first day of April of each year.) In the fiscal year of 2007, more than double the amount of new H-1B petitions were filed on the first available date April 2, 2007 (April 1, 2007 was a Sunday) and petitions were selected by a lottery. Similarly, significantly more than the allowed regular H-1B petitions were filed on the first date allowed for the 2008 fiscal year (April 1, 2008). Due to a slowdown in the economy, fewer H1b petitions were filed in the 2009 fiscal year. However, this is likely a temporary situation, and the cap issue remains a problem.

Not all H1B visas/status are subject to the above annual cap. The cap does not apply to most beneficiaries that are already (or have been) in H-1B visa/status. Furthermore individuals working for some non-profit organizations, Universities, and some University affiliated organizations may not be subject to the cap. In addition, individuals with a Master’s or a higher degree from an U.S. institution are subject to a higher cap.

Duration of Stay:

H-1B Status may be granted for up to three years. As long as the specialty occupation continues and the company continues to be capable of paying prevailing wage, H1B status can be extended up to a maximum of six years. In addition, individuals with labor certification (PERM) or employment based permanent residence, or related adjustment of status application that has been pending for more than one year can obtain extensions of their H1B status/visa beyond the sixth year while their application is pending (one year at a time).

Family Members:

Spouses and children (under 21 and not married) are eligible to obtain H-4, which is a derivative status. They are allowed to accompany the H-1B Specialty Occupation worker and remain in the United States. Individuals holding H-4 status may also attend schools.

Fees:

The following is the attorney’s fee that the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC charges for a typical case of this type when filed in the United States at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) (please read the disclaimer at the top of this page) and the filing fee currently charged by US Citizenship and Immigration Service (US CIS):

  • $3,000.00 attorney’s fees for the principal beneficiary petition
  • $350.00 attorney’s fees for family (if family is accompanying)
  • $325.00 US CIS filing fee for the main petition
  • $290.00 US CIS filing fee for the family’s application (if family is accompanying)
  • $750.00 US CIS Data Collection Fee ($1,500.00 for companies with 25 or more employees)
  • $500.00 US CIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee (for initial petition)
  • approx. $105.00 Degree Evaluation (if experience evaluation is needed then the charge will be significantly more)
  • $1,225.00 US CIS filing fee for premium processing (optional)

Experience:

The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC has experience helping clients to obtain H-1B status.

Please see a sample of approved cases.

What do we need to get started?

Information and Documents needed for H-1B

Sample Retainer Agreement

Contact Us

We are prepared to answer any questions that you may have. Contact an Austin immigration lawyer of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC at 512-323-2333 today for more information on how we can help you.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa FAQs

What are the requirements for H-1B Visa eligibility?

H-1B visas are employment-based visas for specialty occupations. In order to be eligible for an H-1B visa, you must have a specialty occupation that meets specific requirements set out by the State. This type of visa typically requires a bachelor degree, its equivalent, or a more advanced degree. In addition, your employer should normally require that the degree you possess or the specialized knowledge for the position you want should be specific to your qualifications and degree. Additionally, you need to prove that your employer will be paying you the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation so that you are being paid fairly no matter your immigration status.

How can an H-1B visa affect my family and their immigration status?

If you have been approved for an H-1B visa, then your immediate family, both a spouse or your children under 21 years old, will be eligible to obtain an H-4 visa, which is a derivative of the H-1B visa. Anyone under the H-4 visa may accompany their spouse or parent to the United States and are permitted to attend school. Additionally, holders of H-1B visas are eligible to renew their visas in three year increments for up to six years after their initial three years with the visa. Holders of H-4 visas may likewise extend their stays for as long as the holder of the H-1B visa maintains status.

What does the annual cap for H-1B visas mean for applicants?

There is an annual cap on H-1B visas, which means that a maximum of 65,000 H-1B cases will be accepted each year. Most applications are filed on the first available date each year, April 1st, and approved applications are selected by a lottery. There are certain applicants who are exempt from the annual cap, including applicants working for some non-profit organizations or universities, and those with a Master’s degree or higher degree from a U.S. institution.

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