Reflecting on H-1B season

Thumbnail image for visa-approved11.jpgLooking back on the most recent H-1B Cap season, it becomes clear that the H-1B process works best when employers, employees and attorneys work clearly and efficiently together. There are many things that your employer’s attorney will need from you to determine if you qualify for a H-1B visa and to prepare the best petition possible for you. The basic things that will be needed from you include:

  • Your current passport
  • Your educational credentials (diplomas and transcripts)
  • Evidence of your current status, if applicable.

Your employer’s attorney will then use this information to demonstrate to USCIS that you meet the qualifications for an H1B visa. For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

Thus, ensuring that the attorney has sufficient time to review your job description and your relevant education and experience will help give them an opportunity to thoroughly review your credentials and determine if you qualify or require and academic evaluation. An academic evolution will demonstrate to USCIS that your degree is the equivalent of a US degree in the specialty occupation field, or that your degree plus experience is the equivalent of a bachelor degree in the relevant field. It is very important to get a quality education evaluation as USCIS can reject poor ones. Thus, it is very important to get the attorney all your education information early so that they can review and determine the best course of action for your petition.

If you are in the United States in another status when your H-1B petition is filed, you must show that you have maintained your current status. This evidence can vary greatly and depends on your current status. While it may be obvious to you, it may not be so obvious to the attorney working on your petition whether you are in the United States in another status or are outside the United States and will go to the consulate for stamping. Clearing your current status up with the attorney can save delays to your petition down the road.
The final piece of the puzzle is effectively demonstrating that the job you are applying for is a specialty occupation and that the employer employee relationship exists between the petition and the beneficiary. This is demonstrated by your employer providing documentation that shows that you are, in fact, their employee. This becomes especially important if you are a consultant working at an offsite location. To show that the position is a specialty occupation, your employer must show that a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the position. Again, the beneficiary’s academic credentials are paramount and giving the attorney enough time to review them and prepare the best case possible for you is only to your benefit.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to timely and effectively communicate with your potential employer and their attorney to help assemble a quality H-1B petition for you.