H-1B and J-1 Visas
Do you want to work in the United States? Are you a professional in a specialized field? Then an H-1B visa may be the answer for you. The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. It can be a great option for physical therapists, dentists, doctors, computer scientists, and many other occupations. This Visa would potentially allow you to work in the U.S. for a temporary and specified period of time.
The J-1 Visa similarly provides a lot of options to individuals in different field. The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for doctors, physical therapist, nannies, interns, teachers, research scholars, professors and exchange visitors participating in certain programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the U.S. All applicants must meet eligibility criteria, English language ability is required and the you must be sponsored by a university, private sector or government program.
What is the duration of the visa?
The duration of stay for an H-1B Visa is typically for 3 years, and can ultimately be extended for up to an additional 3 years (total of 6 years). This type of Visa can sometimes be considered to be a dual intent, whereas the potential workers can enter into the U.S. while at the same time applying for a permanent residency under another category such as an Employment Based Visa.
The duration of a J-1 Visa depends on the position and type of job, and is commonly 12-18 months.
What are the requirements when applying for this type of Visa?
Any person wishing to apply for an H-1B Visa should be able to do the following:
Have a labor certification from the Department of Labor (this is done by submitting an evaluation which will determine the validity of your equivalency of education or knowledge in the U.S.).
Demonstrate that you will be acquiring a position that requires:
A specific level of knowledge; one which usually acquired through some type of higher education or specialized training.
Or some type of specialized abilities, which will be supported through the collection of resumes, letters of recommendation from previous employers, and/or certificates; you may substitute 3 years of experience for every year that you are missing from getting a college degree (i.e. if you need to complete 4 years for your college degree, you must provide 12 years of experience).
Demonstrate that the person who will be employing you is going to pay you a salary determined by the development of the activity, which should be equal to the highest average established by the U.S. Department of Labor.
For a J-1 Visa, there must be a sponsor/host organization for the program under which the visa is granted. The host organization is the entity that actually provides the internship, training, or education program under which you would enter.
What are the requirements for the employers of these foreign workers?
For an H-1B, the company serving as your sponsor must submit several documents required to support the need for your service as an employee. Said company must also submit documentation supporting the company’s existence and functionality, as well as a detailed description of certain aspects such as the activity which said company develops, the position you will be filling, etc.
For a J-1 Visa, the host organization must show they have ability to provide the exchange experience. The host provides the employment, an internship, or training experience and must show that they will not engage the J-1 visitor in ordinary employment and will not use a J-1 visitor to fill a position that could be occupied by U.S. workers.
What if an H-1B company is new or has been functioning for less than 1 year?
Aside from the general requirements needed, the company must demonstrate that they have the economic ability to pay your salary, and that they are a real business by submitting:
A business plan, demonstrating a projection of the next 3 years (it is preferable that this be prepared by an accountant and in the English language).
All necessary documents needed to support the credibility of the existence and sustainability of the company, such as, a bank account, bank statements, rental agreement, business license, etc.
Rules for Family members accompanying the foreign worker
For both J-1 and H-1B visas, spouses and unmarried children under 21 may apply for J-2 visas/H-4 visas as dependents. They are eligible for work authorization in the U.S., though USCIS has been trying to eliminate this for H-4 visa holders.
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*This webpage is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and does not create an Attorney-Client relationship.
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