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H1B Visa Lawyer: Your Guide to Application and Compliance

2 Feb, 2024

Navigating the path to securing an H-1B visa can be challenging, but you do not have to walk it alone. At JQK Law Firm, our mission is to guide you through every step of your immigration process to the United States. An H-1B visa is a vital resource for individuals in specialty occupations seeking to contribute their skills in the United States. Our priority is to ensure you’re positioned for success.

At our Los Angeles-based immigration firm, we’ve dedicated our immigration practice to helping clients worldwide achieve their American dream. Whether it’s work, business, or investment visas and green cards you’re pursuing, we’re here with the responsiveness and experience you deserve. With us, your future is not just a file on our desk—it’s a life we’re committed to helping you build.

We invite you to take advantage of our tailored approach to your H-1B visa application. Our team treats all of our clients with respect and dignity, simplifying the complexities of immigration law into clear, actionable guidance. Let us be your partner in this critical step of your journey, and together, we can unlock the opportunities that await you in the United States.

Understanding H1B Visa Eligibility and Requirements

An H1B visa enables US employers to hire qualified foreign workers to take on specialty occupations in the United States. These include roles that often necessitate a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent as a minimum entry requirement. They also require ‘theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.’

At JQK Immigration Law Firm, we guide you through the nuanced eligibility criteria and the documentation necessary to strengthen your application.

Candidate Requirements for H1B Visa

To get an H1B specialty occupation visa, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Educational Achievement: Hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree or an equivalent foreign degree. The degree should be in a relevant field of study that directly relates to the job.

OR

  • Possess an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that allows you to fully practice the job duties and be immediately engaged in your state of intended employment.

OR

  • Have education, specialized training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree, and be recognized for your expertise in that specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

Position Requirements for H1B Visa

The available position also has to meet one of the following criteria to qualify as an H1B specialty occupation:

  • The job typically has a minimum entry requirement of a bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent.

OR

  • The job can only be performed by someone with a degree, or a degree is a common requirement in similar positions in organizations across the industry.

OR

  • The employer typically requires a degree or equivalent to employ someone in that position.

H1B Visa Caps & Lottery

  • An annual limit exists for the number of H1B visas issued. Currently, this annual cap is set at 65,000. However, there is an advanced degree exception. This exception means that applicants holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution are not subject to the 65,000 cap until candidates in this category exceed 20,000. In other words, a total of 85,000 visas are available for the fiscal year.
  • For those from Singapore and Chile, specific agreements allow you to access a certain number of H-1B1 visas, which are set apart from the 65,000 available visas.
  • Due to the high demand, a lottery system is often used to select applicants when the cap is exceeded. The way it works is that prospective employers of H1B visa applicants have to complete an electronic registration process for the beneficiary and pay a $10 fee. After the registration period closes, the USCIS, through a random selection, will choose the candidates who are allowed to proceed with the visa application process. Only if a candidate is selected can their potential employer submit an H1B visa petition for them.

Remember, at JQK Law Firm, we’re committed to guiding you efficiently through your immigration journey. Your path to securing an H1B visa is our priority, and we can walk you through every application, requirement, and deadline with the responsiveness and care you deserve.

The H1B Visa Application Process

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Start by confirming that the position offered by your potential employer meets the criteria for an H-1B visa, which is designed for specialty occupations. We can work with you to determine this before going any further with the process. 

Step 2: Registration and Lottery

Due to the cap on H-1B visas, your prospective employer will need to complete the registration process for your H-1B visa. After this, if you are selected to proceed with your application, your employer take the necessary next steps. 

Step 3: Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Your prospective employer needs to file Form ETA-9035/9035E, Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified by the Department of Labor (DOL), attesting to fair wages and working conditions.

Step 3: USCIS Petition Filing

After the LCA is certified by the Department of Labor, your prospective employer needs to compile and submit Form I-129 with the USCIS alongside the LCA. This form is the official H-1B visa petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, they can only file this if you are selected by the H-1B visa lottery system. It costs $460 to file this form.

Step 5: Supporting Documentation

In addition to the immigration petition form and LCA, some supporting documents are usually required by the USCIS. They include evidence of your educational background, such as school transcripts or certificates. If you are chosen based on a combination of your education and experience, you would also need to provide documentation to support this. Our team can help you determine what supporting documents to submit with your application to make the process move fast. 

Step 6: Response to USCIS Requests

The USCIS may request additional evidence after you submit your application. You will need to provide this promptly and accurately.

Step 7: Visa Stamping and Interview

If the petition is approved, you can proceed with applying for a visa via consular processing at the US embassy in your country. An interview will typically be scheduled and conducted. If you are successful, you will be granted a visa. An H-1B visa typically lasts for three years. However, it can be extended for another three years for a total of 6 years.

By following these steps closely, we ensure that your H1B visa application process is handled with utmost respect for your future. With our support, you can also explore various other pathways to immigrant visas, including Work, Business, and Investment Visas.

H1B Visa Fees and Associated Costs

When navigating the complexities of employment-based immigration, it’s crucial to understand the H1B visa fees and associated costs. As part of our commitment to guiding you through your immigration journey, here’s what we want you to know about the financial considerations involved in an H1B visa application.

Breakdown of H1B Visa Fees

  1. Labor Condition Application (LCA): Before H1B filing, U.S. employers must obtain an LCA from the Department of Labor, which ensures the foreign worker is paid the prevailing wage. This step comes at no cost but is crucial for compliance.
  2. Base Filing Fee: The standard USCIS fee for H1B electronic registration is $10, while Form I-129 costs $460 to file.
  3. Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: This mandatory fee applies to new H1B applications and is intended to prevent and detect immigration fraud. Employers who are filing the form H-1B are required to pay $500 for this.
  4. Public Law 114-113 Fee: Applicable for certain employers who have more than 50 employees, with over 50% of them on H1B or L-1 status. This is a fee of $4000
  5. ACWIA Training Fee: Depending on the size of the company, this fee funds the training of U.S. workers. It is $750 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $1500 for petitioning employers with more than 25 employees.
  6. Premium Processing (optional): For an expedited review of the application, this optional service incurs an additional fee. The fee was increased in December 2023 from its former $2500 to $2805 to account for inflation.

Additional Costs and Considerations

  • Attorney Fees: Legal fees for the visa process will vary based on the complexity of the case and the services provided. H1B visa attorney fees can range significantly, and at JQK Law Firm, we aim for transparency regarding these costs.
  • H1B Transfer or Extension: If you are looking to transfer your H1B status or extend your visa, additional costs will apply, including attorney fees and any USCIS fees for extensions.
  • Unexpected Delays: Budgeting for potential delays is wise as processing times can vary, potentially impacting travel or employment start dates.

Our dedication as a law firm is to clarity and advocacy for your future. Understanding these fees and costs is crucial for compliance and smooth processing of your H1B application.

Navigating the H1B Visa

At JQK Law Firm, we understand that the H1B visa can be your gateway to working in the United States, and it’s our priority to guide you through each step. Given the competitive nature and the annual quota, navigating the H1B visa lottery system requires precision and timely action.

H1B Visa Basics:

  • Validity Period: Typically valid for six years in increments of three years.
  • Dual Intent: It allows holders to apply for a green card.

When you’re aiming to renew your H1B or transition to a green card, strategic planning is paramount. For individuals with advanced degrees from a US university, your chances in the H1B lottery are bolstered, as there’s a separate cap-subject pool for you.

Our Approach:

  1. Assessment: We start by assessing your eligibility and whether H1B is the right path for you.
  2. Timely Filing: We ensure your application is prepared for the lottery, taking advantage of the early filing periods.
  3. Labor Certification: We meticulously handle your labor certification application to avoid any delays.
  4. Immigrant Status Transition: If you are aiming for permanent residence, we work with you to change your immigration status.

Remember, H1B is not your only option. We’ll explore alternative visa categories and consular processing to match your long-term goals. With JQK Immigration Law Firm, you’re not just a case number but part of our family. We pledge to hold your hand on your journey to success in the H1B visa lottery and beyond.

H1B Visa Extensions and Changes in Employment

Navigating the complexities of H1B visa extensions and employment changes can be overwhelming. We at JQK Law Firm guide you through immigration attorney at every step, ensuring that your future in specialized occupations such as medicine, technology, engineering, science, and architecture in the US remains bright and secure.

Criteria for H1B Visa Extensions:

  1. Proof of Employment: You must demonstrate ongoing employment in your specialty field.
  2. Valid Status: Ensure you maintain your H1B status and abide by all immigration regulations.
  3. Timely Filing: File for the extension before your current H1B visa expires.

Changing Employers with an H1B Visa:

  • Notify USCIS: Submit the required legal documents to report your change of employer.
  • New Labor Condition Application (LCA): Your new employer must file an LCA and a new H1B petition on your behalf.
  • Maintain Status: It’s crucial to remain in lawful H1B status during the transition to prevent any complications.

At JQK Law Firm, we commit to responsive and experienced guidance through these complexities. From ensuring your documentation is flawless to navigating the cap intricacies, we’re here to make sure your application process is as smooth as possible. We know the ins and outs and will be with you at every turn, always treating you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

Partnering with JQK Law Firm for Your H1B Visa Needs

As a prestigious immigration law services firm in Los Angeles, we at JQK Law Firm understand the complexities of navigating through employment-based immigration. We’re here to ensure that your path to an H1B visa is handled with the utmost care and professional diligence.

Our Services for H1B Applicants

  • Comprehensive assessment of your employment situation and visa eligibility.
  • Assistance with the entire H1B application process, from petition to approval.
  • Guidance on how to proceed with family-based immigration as it relates to your H1B status.

We pride ourselves on being highly responsive and exceptionally thorough in our services. We hold your hand through each step of the immigration journey because we believe your future is our priority. With us, expect to be treated with the respect and dignity you deserve.

Why Choose JQK Law Firm?

  1. Personal Touch: We recognize each case is unique, and we tailor our services to fit your individual needs.
  2. Streamlined Communication: From our first conversation to the last, communication will be clear, concise, and regular.
  3. Successful Outcomes: Our history of approvals speaks to our commitment to your success.

Remember, when it comes to your H1B visa needs, you are not alone. We’ll guide you through the process swiftly and successfully, focusing on achieving your immigration goals. For an ally in your H1B visa application, contact us at JQK Law Firm. Let’s bring your future into focus together.

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