The H1B visa is the most highly coveted U.S. work visa. With a limited annual supply and more than two applicants for each available visa, competition is keen among the tens of thousands of foreign nationals studying in the U.S. and others seeking work.
The H-1B visa is for workers coming into the United States who have skills and are considered “specialty” workers. To qualify, the foreign worker must have a college degree from a four year institution or the equivalent in experience or education. Anything other than a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university must be independently evaluated for equivalence to a bachelor’s degree. Three years of experience can be evaluated as one year of study toward a bachelor’s degree.
Compared to the other non-immigrant categories, the process for an H1B visa is extremely complicated. There are a lot of steps and the whole procedures takes approximately 6 months.
Step 1 in filing an H1B Visa Application: Find a reliable company who can sponsor your H1B visa. The employers of foreign workers must obtain an application called a Labor Condition Application (LCA). The Department of Labor (DOL) must go through a process to certify the LCA before the application can be filed.
Step 2 in filing an H1B Visa Application: Determine the correct wage. The potential US employer must determine both the standard or prevailing wage and the actual wage for the specialty occupation at issue since the US employer is required to pay whichever one is higher. The standard wage is usually determined by looking at the skills, responsibilities and experience needed for the job, while the actual wage is determined by comparing the wages of workers in similar situations.
Step 3 in filing an H1B Visa Application: By providing all necessary information and signing the LCA form, the employer agrees to pay the foreign worker the higher wage and represents that the employment of the foreign worker will not hurt the conditions of the other workers in that workplace.
Step 4 in filing an H1B Visa Application: Mail the LCA. After completing the required information, the LCA form should then be mailed or faxed to the DOL. A certified copy will eventually be returned to the employer.
Step 5 in filing an H1B Visa Application: Give notice. The employer must post notice of the H1B visa filing in two conspicuous places for ten days at their place of business days. If union employees are involved, the employer must also provide notice of the H1B filing to the union representative.
Step 6 in filing an H1B Visa Application: After the DOL accepts the LCA, then the application is ready to be filed. If you are filing from out of the country, you can apply for your H1B visa at the US Consulate in your area. Any necessary supporting documents, like school transcripts,the LCA itself, a letter from your prospective employer or proof of necessary licensing should also be attached to your application.
Step 7 When the Approval is received – Final Step of H1B Visa Application: If you are in the U.S. in another valid immigration status, you may now go to work for the new employer. If you are outside the U.S., you may now go to the U.S. Embassy listed on the I-129 Petition to have the visa issued and stamped, after which, you may enter the U.S.
F-1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa for those desiring to pursue academic and language training programs. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS states F-1 Curricular Practical Training or F-1 CPT also known as F-1 Practical Training, as an internship or training program that must be an intergral part of the established curriculum. F-1 CPT serves to provide work experience to students, where the internship or training is a vital part of the student’s academic program, before the course of study is completed. Inorder to avail F-1 Practical Training Form I-765 should be filed.
F-1 Practical Training should be provided by the sponsoring employers through schools or universities. There must be a collaborative agreement between the employer and the school or university.
F-1 CPT is a temporary employment authorization that is got by filing Form I-765. Non-immigrant students while enrolled in a college for degree level course should file Form I-765. F-1 CPT permission is granted upon the approval of the advisor from the school or university’s International Student Office. The regulations for approval is established by the USCIS.
Eligibility for F-1 Practical Training
- Lawful enrollment on full-time basis for one academic year.
Graduate students whose academic curriculum require immediate internship or training are an exception.
- The student should be in valid F-1 status.
Students who are engaged in English language programs are not eligible for F-1 Practical Training.
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) can authorize F-1 CPT if the proposed employment meets one of the two conditions below.
- The training employment is necessary for the awarding of the degree and is required for all students pursuing the degree.
- The training will result in the awarding of academic credit for employment experience
F-1 CPT is always part-time. USCIS does not have an absolute limit on the number of F-1 Practical Training that may be utilized. However, if you are engaged in full-time F-1 Practical Training for one year or more, you will lose your eligibility to engage in Optional Practical Training.
When you file Form I-765 to avail CPT the following documents must be submitted:
- Offer letter signed by the prospective employer with the employer’s name, address and dates of employment on company letterhead.
- F1-CPT Recommendation Form completed by the academic advisor.
- Registration Proof for F-1 CPT course, if academic credit is got for the training.
- Copy of passport
- Copy of I-94
- Copy of I-20
If you are eligible for F-1 CPT, prepare the supporting documents along with Form I-765. Fix an appointment with the ISSS advisor. He will authorize F-1 CPT by issuing a new I-20. The processing would take 3 business days. Only after you receive the new I-20 and authorized F-1 CPT from ISSS, you can engage in F-1 Practical Training. This authorized F-1 CPT is specific to an employer, location, and duration. To extend your temporary F-1 CPT to EAD you should file Form I-765 along with the required documents. Before your EAD expires, you should file Form I-765 for renewal. Processing time for Form I-765 takes about three months.