The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa popularly and commonly used by employers or businesses that are based in the United States, who want to bring foreign individuals to work for them in specialty occupations.

These specialty occupations usually require a certain level of education such as a bachelor’s degree in a field directly related to the job position, as well as other criteria involving high skills and expertise. Which means that in order to qualify for the specialty occupation, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements imposed by the USCIS.

Luckily, software engineering is one of the specialty occupations; therefore, if you are a software engineering and you meet all of the eligibility requirements then you may apply for an H1B visa! Find out more details as you keep reading.

H1B Visa for Software Engineers Entry Requirements

Even though specialties like software engineering as well as software development are among the job titles that are most used by H1B visa applicants, that does not mean that they are spared from meeting certain eligibility requirements. In order to apply for a software engineering job vacancy in the U.S through an H1B visa, you must:

  • Have at least a bachelor’s degree that is relevant to that position. However, if you have over 12 years of experience in a related field, you may be able to meet this H-1B requirement without being a holder of a bachelor’s degree but it is not guaranteed.
  • Have an H1B visa sponsor. Meaning, an employer offering you this job vacancy and willing to sponsor you and pay for the H1B visa processing fees.
  • Your employer must submit a Labor Conditions Approval (LCA)
  • Your Employer must submit Form I-129.

Software Engineer H1B Sponsorship Data

Year Approval Rate Denial Rate
2015 98.58% 1.42%
2016 99.1% 0.9%
2017 99.04% 0.96%
2018 99.01% 0.99%
2019 99.44% 0.56%
2020 99.97% 0.03%
2021 99.78% 0.22%
2022 99.81% 0.19%

Average prevailing wages for Software Engineer in the U.S

While average salaries can vary from an employer and a city to another, software engineers make decent earnings each year. According to Dice Salary Survey, the average income for software engineers is $110,989.

However, these salaries always are subject to increased compensation and variation in the form of bonuses and stocks. Take a look at the following data for an overall idea about the median salaries for H1B software engineers in the U.S!

Company Name Average Median Salary for H1B Software Engineers
Google $141,000
Microsoft $139,000
Apple $120,307
Facebook $170,000
Lyft $177,225
IBM $114,659
Airbnb $182,611
Uber Technologies $141,346
Linkedin $139,748
Mitchell/Martin $131,935

Software Engineering main Employers and Cities

The most popular tech companies in the U.S use H-1B visa to fill software-engineering roles.

Rank City Average Salary
1 New York, NY $117,878
2 San Francisco, CA $135,091
3 Chicago, IL $97,564
4 Sunnyvale, CA $132,485
5 Seattle, WA $125,959
6 Houston, TX $98,081
7 Atlanta, GA $93,850
8 San Jose, CA $126,621
9 Austin, TX $102,682
10 Mountain View, CA $141,767

H1B visa for Software Engineer Basic Processing Information

The regular processing time for an H1B visa varies between 1 to 6 months and it can take up to one year depending on the circumstances. As it also depends on the service center. The California and Nebraska Service Centers process H1B visas for an average of 2.5 to 4.5 months, while the Vermont Service Center takes much longer to process H1B visas.

For example during COVID-19 closures, the USCIS approved multiple H1B visa applications in the timeframe of 2 weeks. Within 90 days of being selected, the employers can then file their petitions at the USCIS for processing and pay the required filing fees and supporting documents. If the petition is approved, then the H-1B visa will be issued.

H1B Visa Fees

Luckily for applicants, most of the filing costs have to be paid for by the employer who is sponsoring them. Which is also one of the most important requirements of filing an H1b visa application.

The typical H1B processing fees include the following:

  • $460 I-129 Fee.
  • $500 anti fraud fee.
  • If the company has 25 or more employees: $1,500.
  • If the company has less than 25 employees: $750.
  • Optional Premium Processing: $2,500.

USCIS Memos concerning H-1B Visa for Software Engineers

The March 31 memo clarifies what had already been in practice—that entry-level computer programmers are not presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas and cancels a previous memo from December 2000.  Which means that the USCIS has more discretion in requiring additional proof that entry-level computer programming jobs qualify as a “specialty occupation”.

What the Memo Says?

Employers who want to sponsor H-1B applicants for entry-level computer programming job vacancies will go through a much more difficult times proving that the position indeed qualifies a specialty occupation.

The memo also indicates that someone with only an associate’s degree can in fact perform the duties of computer programmers, such as writing or testing code, which is generally not considered as an attribute that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

The memo specifically says that “an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a specialty occupation because the plain language of the statutory and regulatory definition of ‘specialty occupation’ requires in part that the proffered position have a minimum entry requirement of a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree.”

If you have any question about the H-1B Visa for software engineers do not hesitate to contact Herman Legal Group. We will do our best to answer it as soon as possible.

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