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. Requesting the maximum period of H-1B employment will eliminate the need for a re-filing process each year. In cases where there is a year by year contract which must be renewed annually, the employer may consider writing a letter supporting the visa application for the maximum period of three years by inserting the contingency clause "pending the renewal of the contract" or "pending the availability of funds" (in the case of research grants). This suggestion is made only as a practicality and is by no means required.
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 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. Premium Processing Fees are $1,000 made payable by check or money order to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This fee is in addition to the USCIS filing fee of $130 and, in order to request the Premium Processing Service, either the employer or the alien must file form I-907. If you are interested in this option, please complete the I-907 form click here, sign, and return with the other documents required in this visa process.
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.
DOCUMENTS TO BE PROVIDED OR ENDORSED BY THE EMPLOYER
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
University of Rhode Island • Office of International Students & Scholars • International Center • 37 Lower College Road; Kingston, Rhode Island, 02881
International Student Orientation
Date: Friday, January 18, 2013
Time: 10:00AM to 12 Noon
Place: Interntional Center
37 Lower College Road
Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Time: 1:00PM to 2:30PM
A.C.E. Language Institute, Undergraduate &
Place: International Center
37 Lower College Road
**IMPORTANT OPT INFO.**
Reporting responsibilities of F-1 International Students while on (OPT)
SPRING 2013 OPT workshop schedules are announced.