The H1-B visa classification requires a sponsoring United States employer and is linked to the particular employer sponsoring the foreign national worker. The employer must file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor attesting to several items, including payment of prevailing wages for the position, and the working conditions offered. Because the H-1B visa is employer-specific, individuals interested in working for City of Hope under the H-1B category will need to have approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The H-1B category is available for those seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of working in a "specialty occupation." According to immigration regulations this means:
“…the theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education.”
If the position qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” the foreign national must then show that he or she meets the criteria for that position. These criteria, defined by USCIS regulations, state that the foreign national must meet one of the following:
- Hold a United States bachelor’s degree, its equivalent, or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
- Hold a foreign degree determined to be equivalent to a United States Bachelor’s degree or higher required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration or certification which authorizes him or her to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; or
- Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to completion of a United States Bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialty occupation, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
An H-1B visa is valid initially for up to three years. Extensions may be requested up to a maximum total stay of six years. One-year extensions beyond the six-year maximum can be obtained under certain circumstances. Please contact the Department of Human Resources to discuss the qualifications for these extensions.
A foreign national with a current H-1B visa can change employers, and may begin working for the new employer as soon as a new H-1B petition has been filed by the new employer. In this case, there is no need to wait until the petition has been approved
The dependent spouse and/or children under the age of 21 of the H-1B visa holder may be admitted into the United States as H-4 dependents. H-4 dependents are not permitted to engage in employment.
Before a foreign national can begin working with any employer, the USCIS requires that all H-1B applications be filed by the employer or its representative on behalf of the foreign national. Foreign nationals cannot apply to the USCIS on their own behalf. The application must be mailed with the proper fees to the USCIS California Service Center.