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Frequently Asked Questions

Legally, yes. You should be carrying it. At minimum, we suggest people to keep a photocopy in their wallet, car or phone. Always having an electronic copy of your Green Card will help you in the future if you lose it.

You need to file form I-90 to replace your Green Card if it has been lost or stolen.

April 1st is the opening of the H-1B cap. The H-1B is a non-immigrant employment-based visa either for specialty occupations, services of exceptional merit, DOD (Department of Defense contracts), fashion models, distinguished merit or ability. For example, a lot of times we see UCF students that are on F1 visas or on OPT and then the go to get a job offer, and the employer can seek a non-immigrant H-1B visa for them.

Specialty Occupation” it’s a legal term and one of the requirements of the H-1B visa. There are different ways to evaluate specialty occupation. Usually, you want to see a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement for this position and it requires specialized knowledge to do this kind of job. Some people have work experience but don’t have a bachelor’s degree from the US, and this doesn’t mean that they are not able to qualify for an H-1B. There are a lot of companies that perform “equivalency evaluations” and that would analyze the person’s degree from a foreign country and their work experience to produce a report “translating” the degree and work experience into its equivalence in the US. Those with a master’s degree have an advantage because is a master’s cap, which means that there is a limited number of visas approved each year.

There are 65,000 H1B visas approved each year and an extra 20,000 for the cap. Typically there are over 200,000 applicants each year and those who apply go into a lottery system.

To get the H1B visa approved you have to start with having a job offer and you must get selected randomly by USCIS through the lottery system. If you’re selected USCIS will do an evaluation to determine whether or not you, and the employer, qualify for this visa. Students with OPT are allowed to work after they complete their course. Many times, they can extend their status if their H-1B is selected, depending on when their OPT actually expire. April is the month when the H1-B visa applications are submitted. In this regards employers and employees should start working on their H-1B visa applications in advance to have them ready before the deadline and make sure that one’s application is received on time. There is a lottery and filing late can a lot of times prevent you from being eligible for this visa.

A profile for the employer and the position needs to be created and then the application is submitted electronically. This is like the ticket for the lottery. The applicant must also complete what’s called a “Labor Condition” with the Department of Labor to demonstrate the wage, to verify the employer’s Federal ID Number and to prove that they are going to be eligible to pursue such a visa.

if the applicant is selected through the lottery system an I-129, the form used for non-immigrant employment-based petitions, must be filed with the supporting evidence. Non-immigrant basically means that is temporary, or non-intended to give a permanent position in the U.S. The H-1B is typically good for a maximum of six years. Usually granting extensions on three-year increments. In some exceptions an H-1B visa holder can get additional time if he/ she has a 485 which is a green card application that has been pending for more than a year. In this sense, the H-1B visa is similar to an E2, P and O visa.

We typically advice applicants or beneficiaries of the H-1B Visa not to change employers without the new employer filing the petition first. The case doesn’t need to be approved but they should at least file the I-129 first. Receiving those receipts is super important to show that you have done everything properly in your transferring of employment. The new job should be one from a similar job industry as the one you have it.

Spouse and unmarried children under 21 are considered immediate relatives under U.S. immigration laws. Immediate relatives are allowed to come to the U.S. with the H-1B visa holder. However, if your children become over 21, they are no longer considered your immediate relatives under the immigration law and you would need to find an alternative visa for them.

Immediate relatives of an H-1B holders are not be eligible for work authorization. This might change in the future during the new administration.

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