The H-1B non-immigrant visa is available to foreign workers who are employed by U.S. companies in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, the employee must meet the following requirements:
The applicant’s job position requires a bachelor’s or higher degree;
The applicant possesses at least a bachelor’s degree or its U.S. equivalent, or a combination of education and marketing experience equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree; and
The wage offered to the applicant is at least the prevailing wage, or the actual wage paid to other marketing professionals similarly employed, whichever is higher.
In order to determine whether the applicant meets the H-1B visa requirements, all H1-B visa applications must include a credential evaluation if the petitioner studied in a foreign country. Updated credential evaluations are also required for H-1B renewals and TN visas. The AUAP Credential Evaluation Service is often used to provide the credential evaluation of foreign academic and experiential credentials for immigration purposes (including H1-B visas, green cards, TN visas, and E3 visas.)
AUAP reports that there was a case in which the USCIS required an evaluation of a foreign high school degree despite the fact the student graduated from a U.S. regionally accredited university. Accordingly, applicants are reminded that all credential evaluations must establish that the collegiate training that was a post-secondary education (i.e. the student completed the U.S. equivalent of high school prior to attending the foreign collegiate training).
In addition to meeting the H-1B visa requirements, the USCIS places strict quota requirements on the number of H1-B visas that are issued each year. According to the USCIS, the statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B visas for fiscal year 2014 was reached within the first week of the filing period, which ended on April 5, 2013.
AUAP Credential Evaluation Service estimates that the 2015 H-1B quota will be reached by April 1, 2014. Applicants and their employers are strongly advised to prepare the H1-B visa as soon as possible in order to ensure that the USCIS has received the visa application before April 1, 2014, when the quota is expected to be reached.