H-1B Visa Information
The H-1B is a work authorization visa. It allows a nonimmigrant to work as a professional in a “specialty occupation” for a specific US employer for a specific period of time in a specific location.
The first step in the H-1B process is the employer’s decision to sponsor a foreign national for H-1B.
A specialty occupation is one that requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the field of specialization. Some professions may require advanced degrees or licenses or certificates beyond the bachelor’s, e.g. teachers, accountants, lawyers, postdoctoral fellows.
There are several ways to determine if the foreign national has the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree:
Evaluation by an official at a college of university who can grant college-level credit.
Evaluation by a credentials evaluation service.
Certification or registration from a professional association.
A person must have a US employer who is willing to apply on his/her behalf to the appropriate US federal agencies. An individual cannot apply on his/her own behalf.
Note: The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College limits sponsorship of H-1B petitions for faculty position such as:
The second step
The Department of International Faculty Services will be responsible in processing the following:
- Defining the job duties and requirements given by the Department Chair.
- Determining the *Actual Wage.
- Determining the *Prevailing Wage (Submission of a prevailing wage request to the Texas Workforce Commission).
- Filing the *LCA (Submission of a Labor Condition Application to the U.S. Department of Labor).
- Submission of the H-1B application *^(Form I-129) to the USCIS (Check Documentation Required for an H-1B application).
*Actual Wage: The wage or wage range offered by an employer for a particular position
*Prevailing Wage: The weighted average wage offered by area employers for a particular position.
*LCA: Form ETA 9035.
*Form I-129: USCIS filing fee of US $185 for the petition (Form I-129). Sometimes it can take up to six months for an H-1B petition to be approved. Remember, it must go through at least two government agencies before the H-1B status can be conferred.
^Form I-129:The USCIS Service Center is participating in a pilot program called “Premium Processing Service” This service allows you to pay $1,000 fee in exchange for the 15-calendar day processing of your petition or application. USCIS guarantees that within 15 days USCIS will issue either an approval notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or a notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If the USCIS fails to process your petition within 15 days, it will refund the $ 1,000 and continue to process your petition as part of the Premium Service Service.
The initial H-1B may be limited to three years, because the Labor Condition Application is valid for three years. But a person may hold an H-1B for a maximum period of six years, which means that the H-1B can be extended. However, if the employee changes employers, a new H-1B status must be approved (and again it must have an approved Labor Condition Application first) before the employee switches to the new employer. Theoretically, a person may have been authorized for many different H-1B’s but the maximum period she/he may hold the status is six consecutive years.
Dependent spouses and children of H-1B
Dependents of H-1B temporary workers have H-4 status. Persons in H-4 status cannot work in the U.S.