Professionals Working In The United States (H-1B)

Requirements for an H-1B – Professional Visa

This document describes the requirements and procedures to obtain an H-1B visa for a professional employee.

In recent years, the processing of the H-1B visas has been complicated because there are a limited number of H-1B visas issued each year and there are many more applications in one year than the number of visas available. Accordingly, it is important to begin processing as soon as possible and to obtain advice as to the availability of visa numbers.

Types of Work for which an H-1B visa may be obtained.

H-1B specialty worker visa petitions are filed with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) by U.S. organizations which seek the temporary services of persons whose work requires a bachelors or higher degree in a specific occupational specialty. These fields of endeavor include, but are not limited to, most computer science jobs, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, physical therapy, business specialties, accounting, law, the arts and many teaching positions.

Validity of H-1B visas.

H-1B status usually is granted initially for three years and extensions can be obtained for a total of six years. However, an employer can request an H-1B visa for less than three years, and employment may be part-time.

Processing of H-1B visa applications.

Our office will prepare the necessary petitions, forms and other supporting documentation based upon information provided to us by the employer. The basic information required from the employer includes the date the employer’s organization was established, its IRS employer ID number, the total number of employees, its most recently reported net and gross annual income, a detailed description of the H-1B employee’s proposed job, the salary, and the approximate value per week of the benefits (such as health insurance) the employee will receive.

Persons in the United States who have not worked without authorization or who have not otherwise violated their current immigration status can change their visa classification to H-1B in the United States. Persons who need to travel during the processing of the visa petition, which have violated the terms of their current immigration status and persons outside the United States must obtain their H-1B visa abroad at a U.S. Consulate after first having a visa petition approved in the U.S.

Prior to filing a petition with Immigration for an H-1B visas, it is necessary to complete the following processes:

  1. The “prevailing wage” for the position must be determined. This is usually obtained from the Florida Department of Labor. We help employers obtain “prevailing wage” determinations and can also provide advice for the employer to use in determining the “actual wage”.
  2. The filing of Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL). We prepare and file the employer’s LCA.

Our firm will first prepare drafts of all required documents for the employer’s review, revision, and approval. Once the employer has signed off on the finalized documents, we will file them with DOL and INS and follow-up with those agencies to insure prompt adjudication.