H 1b visa provides a great opportunity for people around the globe to come and work in the US for a temporary period of time. One of the versions of this visa is the H-1B1 visa program which is specifically designed for Singaporean and Chilean citizens. This article will explain the H-1b1 visa in detail and will resolve all your queries related to H 1b1 program.
What is H-1b1 visa program?
Visa applicants from Chile and Singapore might have heard about the H 1b1 visa program if they are looking to apply for an employment visa in specialty occupation jobs in the US. On 1st January 2004, the free trade agreement between US and Singapore and US-Chile free trade agreement came into effect. The agreement provided a separate class of non-immigrant employment visas (H-1B1 Visas) for individuals from Chile and Singapore.
Under the H-1b1 visa program, 1,400 and 5,400 temporary employment visas have been granted for the citizens from Chile and Singapore nationals, respectively. So, anybody in Chile or Singapore who is looking to work in the US temporarily in specialty occupation jobs can apply under this visa program.
How will I become eligible for H-1b1 visa?
The requirements of the H 1b1 visa are almost similar to the visa requirements for H 1b visa. You must fulfil all the requirements to be eligible for the visa. The requirements are as follows:
- You should either be a Chile or Singapore national. Because the H 1b1 visa program is designed under US-Chile FTA and US Singapore FTA, nationals from any other nationality cannot apply under this program. They have to go for the regular H1b visa category.
- Similar to the H 1b visa program requirement, you should have a US employer ready to sponsor you for specialty occupation jobs.
- You should have at least a post-secondary bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, with four years of experience in the year of specialization.
- The job must be specialty occupation jobs, which means that you should require theoretical and practical application of your knowledge in the job acquired during your bachelor’s degree.
How does the H1B1 visa process work?
#If you are outside the US
Similar to other treaty visas like the E-1, E-2, E-3, and TN visas, the visa applicant can apply for an H 1b1 visa directly at a US embassy or a consulate in your home country. The advantage of the H 1b1 visa over the H 1b visa category is that the sponsoring employer does not necessarily require to submit Form I-129 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and also it is not mandatory to have an approved Form I-797 before you are submitting your visa application to the US embassy or consulate.
The following documents are required to make an H 1b1 application:
- Certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) – The sponsoring employer has to get a certified LCA (Form ETA 9035 or 9035E) from the Department of Labor (DoL). It is a pre-requirement before making an application for an h 1b1 visa as it secures the rights of the new employer and the existing employer. You can read more about LCA here.
- DS-160: Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application – As an applicant, you have to file an online application form DS-160 and get a confirmation for that. In addition, you can pay the visa fee and bring the receipt and DS-160 confirmation to the visa interview.
- Employment Offer – The interviewer at the US embassy or consulate may like to see the details of the job and the job offer letter sent to you by your employer. The job description may include the location of the employer’s office, the wages offered to the employee, the job responsibilities (For e.g., the interviewer might want to see how you will apply specialized knowledge) and the duration of the job.
- Educational Documents – Since an H1b1 visa requires a bachelor’s degree as an eligibility requirement, you should bring your educational documents to the venue of the interview, such as a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or the evidence of your experience related to the position you are applying for.
- Valid Passport – Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your intended period of stay is getting over.
#If you are in the US
It is possible that you are in the US on any other non-immigrant visas (For e.g., an F1 Visa or a tourist visa) at the time of application for your visa. In that case, you may not want to go back to your home country and apply for your H1b1 visa from the US embassy or consulate abroad. You don’t have to worry about this. You can apply for a visa from inside the US. The process is known as a change of status. You can apply for a change of status application if:
- You have a valid nonimmigrant visa status at the time of application. For example, If your nonimmigrant visa is expiring on March 23, 2023, and you want to apply for a change of status to an H1b1 visa on April 1, 2023. Your application will be rejected as you already became out of status at the time of application, and further, you may face consequences of your illegal stay in the US (the time after March 23, 2023). However, you can apply for the visa anytime before March 23, 2023, and you can lawfully stay in the US till the time USCIS makes a decision on your application.
- You have not breached any of your current visa terms and conditions. This is a very important condition because breaching the terms of your visa may lead to the rejection of your further visas and any other immigration benefits you will enjoy in the future.
To apply for H1b1 visa status, your sponsoring employer has to file Form I-129 along with:
- Certified Labor Conditions Application from Dol.
- Employment offer and details of employment.
- Your Educational documents
- Copy of your I-94 – Your employer has to submit your I-94 along with your I-129 petition to verify that you have lawfully entered the US and you have rightly maintained your visa status in the US.
- Valid passport for at least 6 months after your intended period of stay is getting over.
Frequently Asked Questions About H1B1 Visa
#Can I bring my family members if I have h 1B1 visa?
Yes, if you have a valid H 1b1 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age can apply for an H4 visa as dependent family members of the principal applicants.
#What is the period of stay in h 1b visa? Can I apply for extensions?
The initial period of stay for the h 1b1 visa is 1 year which can be extended by applying for an extension application. The USCIS will grant extensions in 1-year increments for up to 2 years for the current LCA, and after that, to get an extension, your employer has to file for a new LCA.
#Is there a lottery in H 1b1 visa like is in H 1b visa category?
The number of application that USCIS receives for the H1b visa category sometimes get to 3 times the cap limit. That is why a lottery system is required for H 1b visas. However, the limit is not reached in the case of H 1b1 visas and having a lottery system for H 1b1 visas has never been required. It is possible that if the number of applications for H1b1 visas increases in the future more than the cap limit and is consistent every year, USCIS may introduce a lottery system for this visa category as well.
#Can I extend my H1b1 visa in more than 1-year increments?
Unfortunately, for an h1B1 visa holder, the only option they have to extend their visa is in 1-year increments, unlike an H1b visa which is issued for initial 3 years and can be extended for another period of 3 years. This might be an annoying process reoccurring every year, but it is not enough to not consider an hhuhuh1b1 visa over the regular h1b visa. However, there is a huge advantage of the H 1b1 visa over the H 1b visa in terms of duration of work, which is that an H1b1 visa holder can extend their visa for an unlimited number of times, unlike H1b visa, which is issued for a maximum of 6 years period.
#Can I have a dual intent for an H 1b1 visa?
Unfortunately, H1b1 visa holders are not allowed to keep dual intent, which means they should have the intention of returning back to their home country after the expiry of their visa and should not at any point of time have the intent to obtain a green card in the US. For example, if you have applied for Form I-485 (for your green card) and its decision is pending. After the expiry of your H1b1 visa, it is not likely that USCIS will accept your further extension applications because you have shown dual intent.
How Herman Legal Group can help you?
If you have any other questions related to the H1b1 visa or your eligibility for this visa, you can ask Herman Legal Group immigration attorneys. We will try to resolve all your queries and provide you with the best assistance possible in your immigration journey.
Herman Legal Group has been providing immigration services in the US for the last 26 years and is AV-Rated and have been awarded the designation of “Best Law Firm” by US News & World Report. Sit with one of our immigration attorneys or consult with them online to discuss your immigration matter. You can set up a consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys by calling us at 1-216-696-6170 or by booking online. Most of their meetings with clients and prospective clients are conducted online, via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, or Google Meet.