H-1B GENERAL INFORMATION
The H-1B visa is designed for foreign workers in "Specialty Occupations" and is used often to bring foreign professionals, professors and researchers to the American work place including: research foundations, hospitals and universities. Specialty Occupation is defined as an occupation that requires at least a Bachelor's degree in the field of intended employment. If the professional has a Bachelor's degree but the position does not require at least a Bachelor's degree to perform the duties, the occupation will not qualify for the H-1B visa category.
The H-1B visa may be held for a maximum of six years with an initial grant of up to three years. It is practical to request the maximum (three years) time period in the initial H-1B visa application process because filing is time-intensive and the fees involved can be costly.
An important benefit of the H-1B visa category is that the Immigration Act of 1990 gives H-1B visa holders special protections if they are applying simultaneously for Permanent Residency.
LABOR CONDITION APPLICATION REQUIRED
Employers wishing to sponsor H-1B workers must agree to the terms of the Labor Condition Application (LCA) by signing the bottom of the LCA form. Specifically, employers are required to maintain documentation supporting the statements that:
DEFINITION OF THE "PREVAILING WAGE"
The prevailing wage means a wage documented by real market data. The unchallengeable standard for prevailing wage is survey data reported by the State Employment Security Agency. Wage surveys from professional associations and other sources may also be used as guidelines. The salary offered must be at least 95% of the prevailing age to qualify for the H-1B visa category.
PROCESSING TIMES FOR H-1B VISA APPLICATIONS
In general, an application for change to H-1B visa status takes about three months from the time USCIS receives the application. This same schedule applies to extensions of previously approved H-1B visa status cases. If either the employer or the beneficiary (the alien) wishes to expedite the process, either party may file for the "Premium Processing" option which guarantees adjudication of the case within 15 days from the USCIS receipt of the application with a money back guarantee.
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT H-1B VISA
H-1B aliens are subject to Social Security (FICA), Medicare taxes. They are entitled to claim U.S. Resident Status for tax purposes. They are subject to Federal and State income tax unless exempt by a tax treaty. Family dependents holding H-4 visa status are not eligible for paid employment.
In the case where you are filing for a transfer of H-1B visa from one employer to another, you may take advantage of the "visa portability" allowance. If you are in legal H-1B visa status for one employer and you wish to change employers (jobs), the new employer may file a new H-1 visa petition and you may work legally for the new company once the new employer has received Form I-797 from USCIS acknowledging that your application has been received.
University of Rhode Island • Office of International Students & Scholars • International Center • 37 Lower College Road; Kingston, Rhode Island, 02881
International Student Orientation
All New F-1 and J-1 International Students
Date: Friday, January 16, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Place: International Center
**IMPORTANT OPT INFO.**
Reporting responsibilities of F-1 International Students while on (OPT)
FALL 2014 OPT workshop schedule: Available