How To Track Your H1B Visa Application

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Many international students seek an H-1B Visa to work in the U.S. after graduating from college. The added steps involved in getting an H-1B Visa make the job hunt challenging for international students, but they are necessary to extend your stay in the U.S.

While you cannot control the outcome of your H1B Visa application, you should still stay up to date with your application’s status. The process of following your application is simple. For H1B Visa Process Visit UT Evaluators

Connect With Your DSO

Designated school officials (DSO) are hired to maintain the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) for international students on your campus. They regularly check in with Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which has the most up-to-date information on your status.

If your H-1B application is selected for the lottery, your SEVIS ID will be updated to reflect that. Once you receive your receipt number, you will officially be entered into the lottery for your H1B Visa.

Track Your Application

After being entered into the lottery, you can use the receipt number to monitor the status of your application. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers an online tracking tool for this.

Submit a Ticket

If you are missing an authorization or if your request is taking longer than you requested you should submit an e-Request for support with your particular issue. The USCIS also offers more detailed information on processing times for your particular case. Check for  H1B Visa in seepennywork

If you are confused by some of the terms throughout your H1B Visa application process, use the Department of Homeland Security Glossary.

L-1 Versus H-1B Visas : Switching From One Visa To The Other

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If you have either an H-1B or an L-1 visa and see that the other visa is better for your situation, you may want to make the change for the sake of your immigration future.

While switching from an H-1B to an L-1 is less common due to the fact that you must have worked for one full year in the three years leading up to your petition. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators

However, many people choose to change their status from an L-1 to an H-1B visa. This could be either due to the greater flexibility or the opportunity to work for a different employer.

To do this, you will need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you for an H-1B visa. If this employer is cap-subject, you will not be able to have your petition submitted until the lottery window opens on the first business day in April and you will not be able to start working as an H-1B worker until October 1st of that same year.

If you are going with a cap-exempt employer, then you can start working as soon as your I-129 is approved without having to wait for the cap filing window. You will also not have to wonder whether or not your petition will be selected.

You will need to make sure that you have at least a bachelor’s degree that is related to the specialty position for which you have a job offer. The USCIS will heavily scrutinize the specialty nature of the position, so it may be best to retain the services of an H-1B attorney to ensure that you qualify.

How Immigration Attorneys Can Help

The H-1B and L-1 visas each possess their share of pros and cons. They are both temporary work visas and maintain dual intent–with the option to apply for a green card without affecting visa status. For H1B Visa Process Visit here

It’s crucial to carefully weigh the similarities and differences of each one in relation to your unique needs and status. Keep in mind the education and employer requirements, maximum duration, annual caps, and spouse employment.

Contact one of our Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyers to begin the filing process today. We ensure that all documents and petitions are filed in a timely manner and make it a point to accommodate each one of our clients.

H-1B vs L-1: Key Differences

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DIFFERENCE RELATED TO EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

As previously mentioned, the H-1B recipients must retain specialized knowledge in the field and possess at minimum a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. At a minimum, a bachelor’s degree/equivalent or higher constitutes eligibility for an H-1B visa. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators

However, in certain instances, the education requirements may be substituted with hands-on work experience. The key is that you have a relevant degree/work experience for the job accompanying the H-1B visa.

For instance, just because you have a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, doesn’t mean you’ll be qualified for an H-1B visa to work as a Mechanical Engineer. Conversely, there is no degree or educational requirement for an L-1 and the specialized knowledge does not need to be in a specific field as is the case with the H-1B.

DIFFERENCE RELATED TO EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY

The petition process varies significantly between the H-1B visa and L-1 visas.

Only multinational companies qualify for L-1 visas. This status is for individuals who have a prior work history with the company but live in a foreign country. An L-1 visa must be filed by an intra-company transferee which means that the individual was employed for an entire year (within the past three years before filing the L-1 visa petition). If this consideration is not met, or the enterprise is not multinational, an L-1 visa is no longer a viable option. For H1B Visa Process Visit here

An H-1B visa, on the other hand, can be petitioned for by any United States-based company, assuming the other requirements are met. Once granted, however, the visa is valid only to work for that specific employer or corporation.

 

H-1B Visa Interview : H1B Change Of Status vs Consular Processing

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Our firm often gets asked the question: which is better, consular processing or change of status? The answer usually depends on your situation and whether or not you are inside the U.S. If you are overseas, then you do not have a choice and must go through consular processing.

Ideally, most H1B applicants would want to change their status rather than go through consular processing. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators

This is because the change of status happens automatically once you begin your employment, requiring no further action from either you or your employer. Consular processing subjects you to the rules and waiting periods of the particular consulate or embassy that you use, which usually includes an H1B interview.

One main drawback to using consular processing is this: your visa could be denied regardless of whether or not your petition is approved.

The immigration officer in charge of your interview process has the authority to deny your visa and also to suspend a decision on your case for an indefinite amount of time. This can sometimes result in having your I-129 approval expire before the consulate makes a decision.

However, if you are in the U.S. you can opt for consular processing if you would like to have greater control over the validation start date of your visa. Here is an example to illustrate. Julio is in the U.S. under TN status and has an approved H-1B petition.

He wants to apply for a green card, but cannot do so under TN status. Therefore he opts for consular processing so that he can “activate” his H1B status as soon as he is ready to apply for a green card.

Some may consider attempting to enter the U.S. through a different visa status (such as B-2 or J-1) so that they can simply apply for a change of status to get an H1B visa. For H1B Visa Process Visit here

However, the B-2 only grants you a six-month stay, which is often not enough time to obtain an H1B. The J-1 visa holder must comply with the directors of his or her sponsoring program, and so can easily encounter unnecessary complications. Your immigration attorney will be able to guide you in this decision.

Requirements For Higher Education Institution : H-1B Visa Non-Profit Requirement

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In order for a higher education to qualify, it must meet the USCIS mandated criteria. According to Section 101 (a) of the Higher Education Act, an institution of higher education must:

A. Be considered a public or non-profit institution. For H1B Visa Process Visit UT Evaluators

B. Provide admission to students who have earned a secondary education

C. Be a licensed by the proper institution to provide education beyond secondary school

D. Offer educational programs which award bachelor’s degrees or min. Two-year educations towards a degree

H-1B Visa Non-Profit Requirements

In order to be considered a non-profit that is associated with a government organization or institution of higher education it must:

A. Be a non-profit entity. (Non-profits that do not qualify: service, community, policy, and art organizations)

B. Be associated with the institution through shared ownership or board control

OR

C. Act as a branch, member of subsidiary. H1B Visa Process Check here

USCIS defines a non-profit research organization as one that is “primarily engaged in basic or applied research.” The most common not-for-profit institutions are colleges and universities with affiliations to medical labs, research units, and hospitals.

H-1B to Green Card Processing Time

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Once you have your H-1B, you may want to pursue permanent residence here in the U.S. There are several ways you can do this, with the most common one being through your H-1B employer. Getting an employment-based green card from H-1B status requires several complicated steps and is best done with the help of an attorney. That being said, the path from an H-1B visa to a green card is relatively straightforward and is taken by tens of thousands of nonimmigrants every year. This straightforwardness is due to the fact that the H-1B is both extremely popular and also considered to have dual intent, meaning that applying for a green card will not jeopardize your nonimmigrant H-1B status. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators

The first step is to find an employer who will sponsor you. This can be your current H-1B employer or a different U.S. employer. The type of green card you pursue should be based on your skills, qualifications, and the position you are being offered. Here are some common choices for H-1B holders:

A. EB-1C: This is for multinational executives and managers (though you must have worked for the multinational company’s foreign branch for at least one year in the three years leading up to your green card application)

B. EB-2: You can merit this by means of having an advanced degree (and a job that requires that degree)

C. EB-3: Because you must have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for an H-1B, that will land you in the wheelhouse for this green card.

Although the outcome—legal permanent residence valid for 10 years at a time—is the same, these options differ in two ways: requirements and processing time. We’ve already mentioned the requirements, now let’s talk about how they differ in terms of processing time.

Just like the H-1B application is the I-129 petition, employment-based green cards require the I-140 petition. Once your employer fills this out, sends it, and the USCIS receives it, that date will be your personal priority date. Keep this date handy, since you will need to use it in the coming months.

You will need to check the Department of State’s monthly visa bulletin regularly to check the posted “final action dates”. These are constantly changing and are assigned to you based on your country of origin and the green card you have petitioned for. For example, the final action date for an EB-1 applicant from Australia will likely be different than an EB-3 applicant from India. For H1B Visa Evaluation Visit here

The final action dates move based on how many people from each country (or group of countries) petitioned for the same green card. Usually, the date moves forward, closer to your priority date. However, if too many people from India apply for the EB-2, then the date could end up not moving at all or even moving backward in a process called retrogression. Once the final action date in your category matches or passes your priority date, the latter will be considered current and you will be able to move onto the next step.

Finally, once your priority date is current, you will need to decide between two options: adjustment of status and consular processing. Because you are in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa status (H-1B), you will be able to file an I-485 form to have your nonimmigrant status adjusted to an immigrant one. It can take about six months to process the I-485 depending on the service center and there is no way to expedite the process.

On the other hand, it may be faster for you to travel to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country in a method called consular processing. This involves making an appointment with the consulate or embassy and appearing for a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. Depending on your situation this can make the H-1B to green card processing time shorter and the cost cheaper.