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FAQ

FAQs For H1 visa

Q: What is the H1B visa?

A: The H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that permits foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. for a temporary period of time.

Q: How long does it last?

A: A foreign national can stay in the U.S. in H1B status for up to six years. The six years is issued in three-year increments.

Q: Who qualifies for an H1B?

A: Foreign nationals who will come to the U.S. to fill specialty occupations or who are accomplished fashion models.

Q: What is a specialty occupation?

A: A specialty occupation is an occupation that requires that theoretical and practical application of a specialized body of knowledge. Specialty occupations normally require bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement. Applicants filling specialty occupation positions will have a bachelor’s degree in the field of the specialty occupation or have a substantial amount of related experience. Generally, most H1B applicants are doctors, engineers, professors, accountants, lawyers, physical therapists, and computer professionals

Q: How many H-1Bs are available?

A: In 2001, 107,500 will be available, Thereafter, the number drops back down to 65,000.

Q: What percentage of the American workforce is comprised of H-1B foreign nationals?

A: Less than .1% of the workforce of more than 127 million people.

Q: What benefits do American companies receive from hiring H-1B workers?

A: Employer hiring H-1B workers are able to utilize the special technical knowledge or skills of these workers that are difficult to find. Employers are also able to satisfy temporary labor shortages of skilled workers.

Q: What are the obligations of an American company sponsoring a H-1B foreign national?

A: The American company must comply with the following requirements:

Protect wages: Employers must pay a wage to every H-1B worker that is at least as much as what is typically paid in the region for that type of work, or what the employer pays other employees with similar experience and duties.

Protect working conditions: Employers can’t use H-1B employees to break a strike, and must notify their U.S. workforce when they hire an H-1B. Employers cannot make the H-1B employee work under conditions different from their U.S. co-workers, including hours, shifts and benefits.

Recruit in the U.S. and Not Displace U.S. workers: Employers who use a lot of H-1Bs must first try to find U.S. workers before they can hire an H-1B. They also must attest that they are not hiring the H-1B if they have laid off or displaced a similarly situated U.S. worker. Employers make these attestations in a file that is open to the public.

Subject to penalties: Failure to comply with DOL regulations can result in civil and administrative penalties, payment of back wages, and even debarment from participating in key immigration programs.

FAQs For B1 visa

Q1 How is the B-1 Businees Visitor Visa Useful?
A1 The B-1 business visitor visa can be very useful for a businessperson who needs to travel to the U.S. on short notice to attend meetings and the like.


Q2 Can you give me some examples for acceptable activities under B-1 status?
A2 Some examples of acceptable activities under B-1 status include: commercial transactions; contract negotiations; meetings and consultations with business associates; litigation; participation in company training or in professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars; research; visits to branch offices of one's company; and sales calls.


Q3 What is the general US rule regarding B1- Status?
A3 B-1 visa holders cannot take up work in the U.S. The general rule is that the activities of the B-1 person in the U.S. must be for the benefit of the foreign employer. As the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) puts it, "Engaging in business contemplated for B-1 visa classification generally entails business activities other than the performance of skilled or unskilled labor."


Q4 Are there any other circumstances that a B-1 visitor can work?
A4 Certain B-1 visitors may perform work here under certain narrow circumstances. Some examples are missionaries, volunteer workers for non-profit entities, certain domestic servants whose employers are not U.S. residents, and certain airline employees, among a few others.


Q5 Can B-1s be issued in any other way?
A5 B-1s can also be issued to people coming to install or repair equipment in connection with a contract to sell the equipment, where installation, training and so forth are specifically mentioned in the contract as being part of the terms of the sale. The usual situation of this type is where a U.S. subsidiary is selling goods manufactured by its parent company abroad, and that foreign company sends a technical expert to oversee installation. In contrast, if a company in the U.S. has a contract that does not involve the sale of merchandise but concerns the provision of services, a B-1 holder cannot be assigned to provide such services. Rather than being incidental to a sale, those services are the actual item that is being sold. The activities of the B-1 visitor would be mainly or completely for the benefit of the U.S. Company.


Q6 B-1 in lieu of H-1. Can you explain this?

A6 Historically, there has also been a use of the B-1 that is sometimes called "B-1 in lieu of H-1." That situation commonly involved a person who appeared otherwise eligible for an H-1, working in a short-term professional assignment when the salary was paid from a non-U.S. source. Keep in mind that the expense allowance, or reimbursement for hotels and food, can be paid in the U.S. for those in B-1 status. While some consulates around the world still seem to issue the B-1 in this type of situation, the "B-1 in lieu of H-1" is considered somewhat suspect by most consulates; today, most would not issue the B-1 visa in these circumstances. Moreover, the USCIS (INS), which is the agency that people have to deal with when they arrive in the U.S., does not approve of the issuance of the B-1 where the foreign national is working and benefiting the U.S. employer directly. Consequently, there could be problems in gaining entry into the U.S. if the USCIS (INS) inspector questions the purpose of the trip. It could also be difficult to obtain an extension of the B1 status from within the U.S. should that become necessary.

Q7 What is the scope for B-1 status?
A7 There have been recent indications that USCIS (INS) inspectors are focusing more often on the scope of the B-1. For example, the U.S. Embassy at Tokyo and the U.S. Consulate General at Osaka-Kobe, Japan have noted an increase in the number of Japanese business visitors turned away at U.S. ports of entry. Officials at these posts have strongly encouraged attorneys to advise their clients as to the proper use of the B-1.

Q8 What are the documents to be carried by B-1's?
A8 B-1 visa holders should carry with them the documentation (such as a company letter) that they used to obtain the visa, in case they are asked at the port of entry about the purpose of their trip.


FAQs For B1 visa

Q What should I do if I am out of status on my F-1?
A You should be able to regain status through departure and re-entering using
a valid F-1 visa and Form I-20 (student copy) validated by your foreign
student adviser if you can convince the USCIS (INS) of the following:

1) the status violation resulted from circumstances beyond your control or
that failure to receive reinstatement would result in extreme hardship
to you;
2) you currently are pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study at
the school listed on the I-20;
3) you have not engaged in unauthorized employment; and
4) you are not otherwise deportable.


Q What financial requirements must be met to receive an F visa ?
A The applicant must demonstrate adequate financial support to cover him/her
through the entire academic program will be available and that adequate
funds are currently available for the coming academic year. Acceptable
evidence may include school financial aid, personal and family funds and
government assistance. Anticipated earnings from employment during school
may not be used to show adequate financial resources.


Q What are the procedures for applying for an F-1 visa ?

A Unlike most non-immigrant visas, it is not necessary to obtain prior
clearance from the USCIS (INS). Rather, the student must obtain an I-20 A-B
Certificate of Eligibility from the school where the student intends to
enroll and submit together with the OF-156 Non-Immigrant Visa form and
supporting documentation regarding financial resources evidencing
an intent to return to the students home country to a U.S. Consulate
in the students home country. After the visa is issued, the student
applies at the U.S. border for admission. If the applicant is already
in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status, the student applies to the USCIS (INS).


Q Must an F-1 student be studying on a full-time basis ?
A Yes. At the undergraduate level, this normally means at least 12 academic hours.
Graduate level full-time is left to the school to define
(especially since work on a thesis or dissertation may constitute full-time
work even though no credit hours are being taken).


Q How long can I stay on an F-1 visa ?
A Foreign students are permitted to stay in the U.S. for the entire period of
enrollment in an academic program plus any period of authorized practical
training and a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S. The whole period is
normally referred to as duration of status and is noted on the I-94 as
D/S. The student must complete the academic program prior to the date of
expiration listed by the designated school official on the I-20AB (a form
issued by the school). Do note, however, that you must carry a full time
course load (except if you are in your last semester of study). See the
following answer.


Q Can I pursue an F-1 visa if similar training is available in my home
country?


A Yes. However, to pursue practical training, such training must not be
available in the aliens home country. In most cases, however, USCIS (INS) does
not make a big issues of it.


Q Who can apply for an F-1 visa ?
A9 Any alien who has applied to and been accepted to enroll on a full-time
basis in an academic education program which has been approved by the USCIS (INS)
to accept F-1 applicants is eligible to apply if the student is proficient
in English or engaged in English language courses leading to English
proficiency. The alien must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources
to study without having to work and he or she must also show that there is
no intent to abandon residency in the students home country. Aliens who
are already in the U.S. in a valid status may apply for adjustment of
status to student status. See answer below.



Q Can I transfer schools on the same F-1 visa ?
A10 Yes, if you are currently a genuine nonimmigrant student, you may have been
pursuing a full course of study at the school you were last authorized to
attend during the term immediately preceding the transfer, you intend to be
a full-time student at the new school and you are financially able to attend
the new school.

When you seek a transfer, you must notify the present school of the transfer
and obtain the I-20 AB from the new school. You must complete the Student
Certification portion of the I-20AB and deliver it to the foreign student
officer at the new school within 15 days of beginning attendance at the new
school. The foreign student officer will endorse the transfer on your I-20
copy and return it to you. The foreign student officer then sends the
original I-20 to the USCIS (INS) and a copy to the old school.

 

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