What is H1b/ Working Visa?

What is H1b/ Working Visa?


Under certain conditions, restrictions and/or limitations, U.S. immigration law may allow a U.S.employer to file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS on behalf of a prospective foreign national employee. Upon approval of the petition, the prospective employee may apply for admission to or for a change of nonimmigrant status while in the U.S. to temporarily perform services or labor or receive training. There are numerous nonimmigrant, employment-based visa categories. The foreign national must meet specific requirements related to the occupation for which the employer is petitioning. H-1b visa is for specialty occupations in a field requiring highly specialized knowledge, such as physical therapy.


Under immigration law, an employer is liable for the reasonable costs of return transportation abroad for a foreign national employee in the H-1B visa if the employer dismisses the employee from employment before the end of the period of authorized admission. Employers must keep USCIS informed of any firings, termination of employment, or changes in the employee’s eligibility by submitting a letter to the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the particular application/petition. Please note that the employee may only perform the duties described in the petition.


We are urging any employer who is thinking of hiring a foreign national on an H1B visa for the next fiscal year to begin the preparation of the case as soon as possible so that the H1B Petition may be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 1. Last year, for fiscal year 2008, H-1B visas outnumbered the available number of visas on the first day they were allowed to be submitted (April 2, 2007), well before the fiscal year began on October 1, 2008.   USCIS cut off any further filings after April 2, 2007, and placed the 120,000 + petitions it received into a “lottery.” This year all filings must reach USCIS by April 1, 2008, as Congress has not acted to increase the numbers of H-1B visas and the 65,000 limit will once again be reached on April 1st. 


Click here for 2009 H1b fact sheet as released by USCIS.

1. When will the physical therapist be able to work?
The physical therapist may or may not be able to start work immediately. Prospective employers should file for I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker on April 1, so that their prospective employee may begin work October of that year. H1b visa petition currently one of the fastest way to hire a foreign national. Other methods such as green card sponsorship may take 2 years.

2. The physical therapist will have a temporary period of work authorization.
A physical therapist will have a limited temporary period of time to work in the U.S. (3 years). After the expiration of his current visa status, he will have to seek an extension (another 3 years), change to a different temporary status, will have applied to adjust his status to permanent residency, or leave the country.

3. Costs associated with US immigration matters:
The employer will have to discuss with the physical therapist whether the company or the applicant will be responsible for the USCIS filing fees, costs, and legal fees incurred when seeking a work visa or green card. Given that the expenses can be substantial, if the employer is considering offering to pay for these expenses, the employer must weigh the value that the physical therapist will provide to the company versus the financial commitment. 

H1B Visa Cap:
The cap is currently set at 65,000 H1B \'s. Since the slots are limited, there is no guarantee that the prospective employee will get the slot. Lawyer’s fees are non-refundable. You may pay a substantial amount of lawyer’s fees, only to find out that the employee did not get the slot.

Portability of H1B visa Status:
Under previous H-1B regulations, an H1 employee seeking to work for another employer could not begin working for that employer until the USCIS processed and approved the transfer petition. This created significant delay for the transferring employer because it could take 3 months before the employee could actually commence work.



USCIS Fees (Effective as of July 30, 2007)

I 129: Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker=                  $320.00

I-907: Premium Processing Fee=                                  $1,000.00

Average Lawyer Fees=                                                $1.000.00- $4,000.00


Additional Fees:

$1500 for the USCIS Education and Training Fee (if the employer has 25 or more full time employees) or $750 for employers with fewer than 25 full time employees

$ 500 for the USCIS anti fraud fee

The $500 USCIS Anti Fraud Fee and the $1500 or $750 USCIS Education and Training Fee are not required for H1b renewals/ extensions for the same employer.




United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. www.uscis.gov

“Before contacting the USCIS, USCIS may be able to help you if you have a question about immigration procedures, or need clarification, by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833). This toll-free call center has additional information and, during their specified office hours, can connect you to live assistance in English and Spanish. The NCSC will be able to answer most questions - although they cannot provide information about the status of your case over the telephone.”