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How do I Apply for H1B?

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  • Written By: Josie Myers
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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H1B is a temporary non-immigrant status in the United States of America (USA) that is applied for by a sponsoring employer. It is intended for use by aliens who are employed temporarily in the USA in a specialty occupation. The classification "special occupation" means that the candidates have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent in an area of specialized knowledge. Fields include IT, omputing, accounting, finance, banking, advertising, marketing, PR, Sales, Recruiting, Engineering, Teaching, HealthCare, Legal, Law, Networking, Telecoms, Business, Management and Hospitality. As of 2009, only 65,000 workers are allowed to be working under H1B status at one time.

Th maximum period for H1B status is six years before the alien must resume living in another location. After one year of residing elsewhere, they may return to the USA and apply for a new period of H1B status. The one exemption to this rule is for those working on special Defense Department projects who may remain for ten years. An H1B acceptance entitles the worker's spouse and children under 21 to live in the USA on an H4 visa. The H4 visa does not allow the children or spouse to work unless they find a sponsoring employer and apply for H1B status independently.

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In order to apply for H1B status, the alien must have a sponsoring USA employer. An alien can not under any circumstances apply for H1B status on their own. It requires the employer to file extensive paperwork and pay fees, so a potential employee often must be a highly desirable candidate for the sponsoring firm.

The first step an employer must take to apply for H1B status is to file a Labor Conditions Application (LCA) Form ETA 9035 with the Department of Labor. This is in online form and must be posted 30 days prior to the start of potential employment. On this form, the employer must attest to fair payment and working conditions for the alien. H1B workers must be paid the average general wage for persons in their position or the actual wage paid to similar employees within the firm. After the LCA is certified, the employer must than file Form I-129 along with the LCA and a fee of $130 US Dollars (USD) to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In some cases, those who apply for H1B status will have the opportunity to become citizens of the USA. H1B status is known to have "dual intent" and can not be revoked if an application for citizenship is being reviewed or even if it has been denied. This also means that they can continue to travel as necessary for their position without special advance notices. For many hoping to become Lawful Permanent Residents, H1B status is the first step toward obtaining a Green Card.

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