The H-1B1 Visa gives a special form of legal residency for Singaporean and Chilean citizens who wish to work in the United States. It is available for professionals who have specialized skills that may be otherwise difficult for employers to find among American citizens.
The H-1B1 was the product of free trade agreements that were ratified in 2003 between the United States and Singapore as well as the United States and Chile. There is a yearly cap of 6,800 available H-1B1 visas.
The H-1B1 visa is a special variant of the H-1B visa that is only available to residents of Singapore and Chile. While the basic requirements are largely the same for both programs, there are still some important differences.
Like the H-1B, the H-1B1 is a legal residency program specifically for skilled and knowledgeable workers. This means that anyone applying for an H-1B1 visa must be currently employed by or have a job offer with a company that is located in the United States.
Independent contractors, small business owners, and the self-employed are not eligible for H-1B1 status.
However, employers have fewer requirements under the H-1B1 program. They will not need to fill out the I-129 form unless the applicant is already in the United States and is seeking an extension.
Workers themselves can apply for H-1B1 status at their local U.S. consulate. However, employers will be held to the same standards as they would for the H-1B program. This means that companies should be able to demonstrate long-term viability, some degree of financial strength, and a genuine need for the applicant’s skills.
Unlike the H-1B visa, the H-1B1 is a non-dual-intent visa. This means that H-1B1 holders are not allowed to have any immediate plans to become permanent residents or citizens of the United States.
It is important to keep this in mind when planning how to settle down in the United States. Applicants will want to secure a temporary place to live – many houses and apartments can be leased by the year.
Especially if they have family moving with them, it may also be worth looking into credit cards with no SSN. Credit cards can be useful in an emergency, and building US credit is a good idea if you plan to stay for any amount of extended time.
The list of individual jobs that could qualify an applicant for the H-1B1 program is extremely long. However, an eligible job will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. It will also be something that needs a level of expertise, talent, and skill that makes qualified individuals difficult to find.
If the job meets these two standards, a qualified applicant will likely be eligible for an H-1B1.
Examples of some jobs that would qualify an individual for H-1B1 status:
- Chemical engineers
- University professors
- Fashion models
- Physical therapists
Additionally, the H-1B1 program is open to agricultural managers and business consultants.
The Application Process
The application process for H-1B1 visas is markedly different than for H-1B visas and can vary significantly with individual circumstances.
The most common means of applying for an H-1B1 status is for the worker to go directly to the nearest U.S. Consulate in their home country. There, they will need to complete the DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa form and provide a letter detailing the employment offer they plan to accept in the United States.
The applicant will also need to provide a Labor Condition Application that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Labor and any relevant supporting documents.
It is important that the applicant also demonstrates that they have no intention of immediately immigrating to the United States.
This means they will need to prove that they have a permanent residence in their country of origin. It also needs to be made clear that they plan to maintain this residence throughout the period in which their U.S. visa will be active.
The fees for H-1B1 applications generally fall on the sponsoring employer.
Employees who fill out the DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa application will be required to pay a $190 fee. However, the sponsoring employer will be responsible for covering the rest of the costs, which will range from $750 to $4,000, depending on the employer’s status.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will be required to pay $750. Businesses with more than 25 will pay a fee of $1,500.
The highest fee will go to companies that meet two specific criteria. These companies will have a workforce with more than 49 employees, which also consists of more than 50 percent of H-1B workers. The fee associated with this is $4000.
For both companies and individuals that are in dire need of H-1B1 visas, hiring an immigration attorney that specializes in these cases can be a smart move.
These lawyers will usually charge between $2,000 and $3,000 per case. But, their services can significantly improve an employee’s chance of being granted the visa.
An H-1B1 visa is beneficial to both the sponsoring company and the employee.
For the employer, it gives them access to a worker with specialized knowledge in a position that may be impossible to fill with U.S. citizens.
For the worker, it gives them a chance to live and work in the United States. This gives them valuable work experience in one of the world’s leading markets while likely making more money than they would back home.
The H-1B1 also gives spouses and children the chance to live in the United States for the same extended periods. The employee’s compensation package will usually reflect their dependants.
All children (minors) and spouses of approved H-1B1 applicants are automatically approved for legal residency in the United States during the visa period. However, they themselves are not permitted to work.
The Bottom Line
Even though H-1B1 holders will not be full U.S. citizens, they can still enjoy all the benefits that come with living and working in the country.
Applied to the right situations, the H-1B1 program is good for everyone involved. This includes the visa holder, the employer, and society as a whole.