Washington D.C. H-1B Green Card Attorney
Dedicated Legal Assistance in Alexandria
The H-1B visa is a unique type of nonimmigrant visa intended for foreign workers filling “specialty occupations.” These jobs must require a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent and typically include positions in the tech, science, computer programming, engineering, architecture, and finance industries. Unlike many nonimmigrant visas, H-1B visa recipients have the ability to seek green cards while in the United States.
H-1B visas are in high demand, and only 65,000 standard visas are issued each fiscal year. Demand routinely outstrips supply, leaving applicants to be subject to an unreliable visa lottery. Our Washington D.C. H-1B green card lawyer at Law Group International can help you understand how to secure your visa. We can assist in the preparation of your application materials and help you navigate the H-1B visa lottery. Once you have your visa, we will continue to work with you and support your efforts to obtain a green card.
Qualifying for the H-1B Visa
H-1B visas are only available to foreign workers filling positions with certain educational requirements. Applicants will need a U.S.-based employer that is willing to sponsor them. The job must require “specialty knowledge,” which is defined as theoretical or technical expertise. In practice, this means that the position must at least require a bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent.
The U.S. employer must also demonstrate to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that they are only hiring a foreign worker because there is a shortage of qualified U.S.-based applicants. They must also attest that the hiring of a foreign worker will not negatively impact the compensation or working conditions of American employees working in similar positions. In most cases, employers are required to inform their existing employees of their intention to hire H-1B workers.
Our Washington D.C. H-1B green card attorney can help determine whether your position is likely to qualify as a specialty occupation. We can also work with your sponsoring employer to ensure that they comply with all legal requirements of hiring an H-1B worker.
The H-1B Application Process
There are historically significantly more H-1B visa applicants than there are visas available. Most prospective applicants will be consequently subject to the H-1B visa lottery. Only 65,000 visas are granted each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 visas per fiscal year are allotted exclusively to those with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. institution.
Registering for the visa lottery is a time-sensitive process and can be confusing. Registration is only available for a 14-day window for each eligibility period. Prospective applicants must create an account on the USCIS website, pay a registration fee, and provide details about their qualifications. We can handle this process on your behalf and ensure that you are appropriately registered.
Not everyone is subject to the visa lottery. Positions sponsored by certain types of employers can skip the lottery process and directly apply for an H-1B visa.
You are not subject to the H-1B visa cap if:
- Your sponsoring employer is an institution of higher education
- Your sponsoring employer is a nonprofit organization with an affiliation with an institution of higher education
- Your sponsoring employer is a government research organization
At the conclusion of the lottery period, you will find out if you have been selected to continue applying for an H-1B visa. It is possible that you may not be randomly selected. Should this occur, you will need to wait until the next fiscal year and register again.
If you are selected, you will have the opportunity to continue with the H-1B application process. Your sponsoring employer will need to initiate the next phase of the process by submitting attestations regarding your pay and working conditions for existing employees. You will then need to submit your formal application materials, including proof of your education, training, and offer of employment.
What comes next depends on whether you are currently in the United States. After your application is approved, you will need to request an adjustment of status or go through consular processing. If you are currently in the U.S., you will need to adjust your status by submitting additional paperwork and documentation. If you are abroad, you will schedule a consular processing appointment with your home country’s U.S. embassy or consulate office. Consular processing involves an in-person interview that will review the specialty occupation and your qualifications.
Benefits of the H-1B Visa
Once your H-1B visa has been issued, it is initially valid for 3 years. You can extend your visa term up to a maximum of 6 years.
Though H-1B is considered a temporary nonimmigrant visa, recipients have the opportunity to apply for green cards during their visa term. This means that the H-1B visa can serve as a viable path to U.S. citizenship.
Because securing a green card can take a tremendous amount of time, it is recommended that you begin the green card application process immediately upon receiving your H-1B visa. Our Washington D.C. H-1B green card lawyer at Law Group International can assist you in seeking lawful permanent residency once you are in the United States. Our team has over 20 years of combined legal experience and has handled thousands of cases. We understand how challenging it can be to navigate the U.S. immigration system and are committed to serving as your advocate throughout the process.
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