1. What’s the process for an employer sponsoring me for an H-1B?
When an employer sponsors employees for H-1B, our office can prepare the necessary forms for submission to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) along with your supporting documentation. You will need to have a job offer or signed contract from the employer and proof that you have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent. Additionally, you will have to set an appointment with our office to retain The Law Office of Kenneth G. Wincorn & Associates, P.C. .
2. What documents do you need from me to start the process?
The Law Office of Kenneth G. Wincorn & Associates, P.C. has a standard list of documents that we require for an H-1B application. Please refer to that list for the documents needed by our firm.
3. How long does it take to get an H-1B approval notice?
USCIS processing times vary based on how many applications they receive at any given time. H-1B petitions for companies located in Texas are filed with the Vermont Service Center (“VSC”). An initial H-1B petition can take anywhere between 60 to 180 days to receive a decision.
USCIS will also expedite a petition for an additional $1000. This guarantees that they will review the case, but does not guarantee a favorable decision, within 15 calendar days. This would be necessary in cases where the petition will not be approved under the normal processing before the of employment or when a employee needs to travel (see below).
4. How does this affect my ability to travel?
This depends on what your current immigration status is. Any H-1B applicant who already holds H-1B status will be able to travel as long as they have an unexpired visa in their passport when they return to the U.S. A beneficiary who is changing to H-1B from another status such as B-1 or F-1 should not leave the U.S. before the petition is approved because USCIS will consider the petition abandoned. Travel after the H-1B approval is permitted as long as you apply for a new visa before reentering the U.S.
5. Can I file for my spouse and children?
Yes. Your spouse and children are eligible for H-4 status while you are in H-1B status. This can be done in one of two ways. The Law Office of Kenneth G. Wincorn & Associates, P.C. will file an application for them along with the H-1B petition if they currently reside in the U.S. in valid status. Alternatively, they may receive H-4 status after presenting the H-1B approval and supporting documents to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country when they apply for a visa in their passport. They will then entering the U.S. and will be issued an I-94 card that indicates their H-4 status.
6. Can my spouse work in H-4 status?
No. H-4 is not a work authorized status. Your spouse must have valid work authorization in order to avoid violating H-4 status. This could cause problems in the future if your spouse or dependents ever need to change status.
7. How long does is the H-1B valid?
The regulations allow for an initial 6 year period of H-1B status granted in 3 year increments. At the end of the first three year period, your employer may file an H-1B extension for an additional 3 years. USCIS allows the initial 6 year period to be extended if you have reached the labor certification or immigrant visa stage under specific circumstances.
8. How does this process work with the “green card” or citizenship process?
The H-1B status is a temporary and is classified as a “nonimmigrant” status by USCIS. An employer may chose to sponsor an employee for the immigrant visa or to obtain permanent residence or lawful permanent residence (“LPR”) status. You must be an LPR for 5 years (3 years of filing based on relationship to a U.S. citizen) before you can apply for U.S. citizenship.
An employer’s personnel policy will determine whether they are willing to sponsor you for permanent residence. Sponsorship for H-1B does not guarantee that a district will offer to sponsor an employee for permanent residence.
We look forward to assisting you in this process. Please contact Kenneth G. The Law Office of Kenneth G. Wincorn & Associates, P.C. P.C at 214-630-1221 and schedule an appointment with either Kate Brady, our Dallas immigration attorney, Yu-Ling Davis, our senior paralegal, or Yong Chong, legal assistant.