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WORKING VISA TYPES FOR GRADUATES, DEADLINES AND QUOTA

WORKING VISA TYPES FOR GRADUATES, DEADLINES AND QUOTA

H-1B Work Visas

While you are in F-1 practical training status you may apply for the H-1B work visa. This visa is what 95% of foreign students who wish to work in the U.S. obtain while in F-1 practical training status. This visa category is reserved for people who have at least a bachelors degree from anywhere in the world and have a job offer that requires the particular degree that they already possess. In some limited situations, where a person does not have a bachelors degree, but does have extensive work experience s/he may qualify, if it can be established that the work experience is equivalent to a bachelors degree. The employer must also establish that you are being paid what is considered the “prevailing wage” for the job. You can obtain a prevailing wage determination by reviewing the U.S. Department of Labor website, or perhaps even using a private wage survey.

Quota

65,000 H-1B visas are available every year, and another 20,000 if you possess a Master’s or Ph.D. from a United States academic institution.  The quota opens up every year on April 1st, and then if your H-1B is approved it will start in October of that year.  If your Optional Practical Training (OPT) expires between April 1-September 30, then you will need to extend your OPT until September 30th by contacting your international student advisor.

If you work for a university or a non-profit research institution, you are not subject to the H-1B quota.   Additionally, if you have already been in H-1B status for a private employer, then you are also exempt from the quota.

J-1 physicians who have obtained a J-visa waiver pursuant to the state 30 program are exempt from the quota. A person in H-1B status who is concurrently employed with an exempt and non-exempt employer will also not be counted towards the quota. However, if s/he ceases to be employed in a cap-exempt position, the H-1B petition with the private employer will end.

Timeline

The whole process, from the very beginning when we confirm the prevailing wage, through our preparing the papers for the employer to submission and ultimate approval can take approximately 6-12 weeks. But, if an additional $1,225.00 “premium processing” filing fee is paid to CIS then your case may be considered “premium processing” and the whole process will take a maximum of 3 weeks.

How long does the H-1B last?

The H-1B is valid for up to three years and can be extended a final three years. You are allowed to change employers with CIS permission, but you cannot spend more than six years in H-1B status. Many of our clients first graduate and obtain one year of practical training. Some clients use a few years of H-1B and then they go back to F-1 to obtain a graduate degree and afterwards they get another H-1B. This is a fairly common scenario. In this case, the client is exempt from the quota.  If you are in the middle of the green card process it might be possible to extend beyond the normal six year H-1B limit.

Other temporary work visa options

H-1B1 for Singapore & Chile

  • 5,400 H-1B1 visas available for Singaporeans and 1,400 for Chileans (this is separate from the above listed H-1B quota)
  •  Unlike the H-1B for other countries, you must establish that you are coming to the U.S. temporarily and after the completion of your work assignment you will depart the U.S.
  •  Exempt from the H-1B anti-fraud police fee, but other filing fees apply
  •  Premium Processing is not available

E-3 for Australian Citizens

  • 10,800 E-3 visas available (this is separate from the above listed H-1B quota)
  • Unlike the H-1B for other countries, you must establish that you are coming to the U.S. temporarily and after the completion of your work assignment you will depart the U.S.
  • E-3 applicants may apply at the U.S. Consulate without first applying with CIS
  • E-3 spouses may be granted employment authorization
  • E-3 visas may be granted in 2 year increments indefinitely, but beware of rules regarding proof of temporary stay
  • Exempt from the H-1B anti-fraud police fee, and the Department of Labor training fee
  • Premium Processing is not available

TN for Canadian & Mexican Citizens

  • Profession must be on the NAFTA list (e.g. accountant, architect, engineer, graphic designer, research assistant, nurse, scientist, teacher)
  • TN visas are exempt from the H-1B quota
  • Unlike the H-1B for other countries, you must establish that you are coming to the U.S. temporarily and after the completion of your work assignment you will depart the U.S.
  • Mexican TN applicants may apply at the U.S. Consulate without first applying with CIS
  • Canadian citizens do not need a visa, and therefore can apply for TN status at a U.S. port of entry
  • TN visas may be granted in 3 year increments indefinitely, but beware of rules regarding proof of temporary stay
  • Exempt from the H-1B anti-fraud police fee, and the Department of Labor training fee
  • Spouses and children get TD status; if not Mexican or Canadian, must be granted the TD visa at a U.S. Consulate
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