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Washington, D.C., H-1B Visas Lawyer

A Note About H-1B Visas

H-1B Professional, Specialty Worker

H-1B visas are the most common temporary work permits available to foreign national professionals. A U.S. employer can file an H-1B petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a foreign employee provided that the job requires (and the employee possesses) at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a particular field. An H-1B employer also must attest to paying the same salary and benefits packages normally offered U.S. workers in similar positions

The government limits H-1B petitions by fiscal year. USCIS may only approve 65,000 new H-1B petitions per fiscal year with an additional set aside available each fiscal year for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. The H-1B quota numbers become available on April 1 for an October 1 start date. In addition, there is a carve out provision of the total 65,000 cap for nationals of Chile and Singapore. Any numbers not used for these cases are typically added back to the following year's overall quota.

Other exemptions to the 65,000-per-year limitation also exist for the following individuals:

  1. Employees of colleges and universities and their related or affiliated nonprofit entities or research organizations;
  2. Employees of government research organizations;
  3. Individuals currently in H-1B status;
  4. Individuals who previously held H-1B status within the past 6 years and have not left the U.S. for more than one year after their last stay in H-1B status; and,
  5. Physicians who held J-1 (exchange visitor) status and received a waiver of the 2-year home residence requirement pursuant to the request of an interested government agency.

The prospective employee may either change his or her status from an existing immigration category to H-1B or present the approved H-1B petition at a U.S. consulate abroad to receive an H-1B visa . The H-1B category entitles spouses and children of the employee to accompany him or her in H-4 dependent status.

E-3 (Australian) Specialty Worker

The E-3 nonimmigrant visa category provides Australian professionals a access to temporary professional in the United States. The E-3 category, created in 2005, allows up to 10,500 Australian citizens annually to obtain E-3 visas.

Australian citizens are eligible to work temporarily in the U.S. in E-3 status for an employer who agrees to pay the employee the prevailing wage for the position offered, provided that the job is a specialty occupation - that is, one requiring at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.

The prospective employee ultimately presents the E-3 paperwork at a U.S. consulate abroad and receives an E-3 visa. When presented before a U.S. immigration officer upon arrival in a U.S., the E-3 visa entitles the holder to two (2) years of authorized employment with the sponsoring employee. The employer may seek extensions of the E-3 employment after this period indefinitely, so long as required by business and so long as the employee can demonstrate the intent to return abroad after the temporary employment in the U.S. concludes.

The E-3 category also entitles spouses and children of the employee to accompany him or her with valid E-3D dependent visas. E-3D spouses may apply for U.S. work authorization as well upon their arrival in the U.S.

TN (Mexican & Canadian citizens)

The TN nonimmigrant visa category, created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), authorizes Canadian and Mexican professionals to work temporarily in the United States. The TN category has no annual quota limitation.

Canadian or Mexican citizens are eligible to work temporarily in the U.S. in TN status for an employer who offers a bona fide position for temporary employment included on NAFTA's specifically designated list of occupations. The employee must demonstrate an intention to depart the U.S. after the completion of the temporary employment.

Spouses and children under 21 of the TN visa holder may travel to the U.S. in TD status. They are not, however, entitled to work authorization based on this status.

There are several options that may be available to help workers secure a temporary non-immigrant visa to the United States. The laws are complex and require knowledge of the application process and strategies for a successful petition. Cecil C. Harrigan, PC attorneys have helped thousands of workers obtain the necessary employer-sponsored visas to work in the U.S. legally.

Our lawyers represent clients in Washington, D.C., and surrounding communities in Virginia and Maryland. Call us at 202-387-8866 or contact us by e-mail to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced Washington, D.C., H1B visas attorney. If you hire us to provide immigration legal services, the initial consultation fee will be credited to your retainer.

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