H1B visa allows employers in the U.S. to employ foreign nationals in a specialty occupation. To be eligible, the foreign national must do such work that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. The H1B visa is one of the most sought-after visas for hiring highly skilled foreign workers.
In this blog, we discuss the H1B visa for teachers.
What are the eligibility conditions?
As per the USCIS, the following requirements need to be met in order to qualify as a teacher:
- For admittance into the teaching post at the institution, you must have a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree. For example, an elementary school teacher may not require the same amount of education as a college or university professor. The required qualification is decided on a case-by-case basis.
- It must be the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the United States for foreign degrees. Three complete years of relevant experience are comparable to one year of bachelor’s degree schooling. In this case, you might have to go through an evaluation before your degree is accepted as valid.
- You need to have all the required licenses and permissions to work in that school setting. If the foreign worker did not get a license before arriving in the U.S., they might receive an option to show that they satisfy all of the licensing requirements.
The employer will have to satisfy the following requirements in order to hire a teacher:
- The Department of Labor requires the educational institution or employer to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA). This ensures that the foreign worker receives at least the prevailing wage paid to domestic workers with similar qualifications/experience and/or the prevailing wage in the region. Also, the LCA ensures that hiring a foreign teacher will not adversely affect the working conditions of American instructors.
Period of Stay
The H-1B visa for teachers is valid for an initial period of three years. This can be extended for an additional three years. Therefore, a teacher can continue in the teaching position for as long as six years. After this, the teacher can request the USCIS to grant an extension. USCIS typically grants a yearly exemption on a case by case basis.
Employment Authorization for Dependent Spouses
Similar to all H1B visa holders, the dependent spouses and unmarried children of teachers are eligible for H4 Employment Authorization. Based on this, the family members can work or attend school in the U.S.
H1B Visa for Teachers Cap
The USCIS limits the number of H1B visas issued in a particular fiscal year through a visa cap. This cap applies to all H1B applicants. There is no specialized cap for teachers.
For FY2022-23, the USCIS set a cap of 65,000 for regular visa applications and an additional 20,000 for applicants pursuing a master’s degree in the country, with 6,800 extra slots for applicants from Singapore and Chile citizens.
The H1B visa cap is subject to certain exceptions. Some employers are capable of filing cap-exempt petitions. In order to avail this for teachers, a higher education institution, governmental research centers, or nonprofit entity relating to higher education or governmental research center can apply for an exemption.
The exemption assessment depends on evaluation by the USCIS. For example, certain school districts might qualify as nonprofit entities, thereby becoming eligible for cap exemptions. To demonstrate that you are qualified to file a cap-exempt petition, the following requirements need to be met:
- The district must be a nonprofit organization.
- The district must have a formal written affiliation agreement with a university.
- The district must have received cap exemption since 2006.
The following is the fee structure for H-1B visas for teachers:
- Basic filing fee – $460.
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee – $750 for employers with less than 25 employees and $1500 for employers with more than 25 employees.
- Fraud Prevention and Detection fee – $500.
- The Public Law 114-113 fee – $4,000 for employers with more than 50 employees and at least half the employees on H1B visa.
Like all H1B visas, the fees need to be paid by the employer. Depending on the place of employment, the employer might be required to pay different fees. In any case, the basic filing fee is always applicable.
Along with the fees, you will have to bear other additional costs. These include the DS-160 fee of $190 for each H1B visa holder and H4 dependents entering the U.S. Finally, if biometric services are required, you will have to pay an additional $85.
The USCIS usually offers teachers who seek to work on an H-1B visa a premium processing service. For a charge of $1,440, this service will reduce the regular processing time from six to seven months to just 15 calendar days. However, premium processing function does not guarantee you a spot in the H-1B lottery, nor does it modify your employment’s earliest start date.
As a teacher, you might want to transfer from one school district to another during the H1B validity period. In order to transfer, you will have to meet the following requirements:
- You must have previously filed a cap-exempt petition through University Affiliation, or
- You want to transfer to a school district that is cap-exempt.
The transfer of teachers under an H1B visa varies in different school districts. You should get in touch with an immigration attorney to understand your unique situation.
How Can Herman Legal Group Help?
Navigating through the rough waters of U.S. immigration law can be very challenging. It is natural to be stressed, confused, and anxious by the process. This is where we come in.
Herman Legal Group is an all-purpose immigration law firm with extensive experience in helping individuals obtain work visas like the H-1B visa. We will work with you to understand your unique circumstances and devise the best possible strategy for success. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys will be with you every step of the way, ensuring that your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism.
Schedule a consultation today to get started!
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