H1B visas allow organizations to employ foreign professionals for specialty occupations for up to 6 years (10 for defense contract workers). Because US immigration is complex, your first step in sponsorship should be a visit to your legal team. You want to ensure all the necessary documents are properly filled out and fees paid.
H1B visas are convenient for foreign employees because they don't require the applicant to prove residency or intent to return to their home country, they allow dependents to stay with the visa holder, and they allow for free travel in and out of the US for the visa holder. A unique aspect of H1Bs is that they must be sponsored by the visa applicant's employer.
To sponsor an H1B, an employer must show:
- The position requires knowledge gained through an upper-level educational institution, or special training.
- The position requires a specific course of study.
- The position requires a B.A. degree.
- To be eligible for an H1B, an employee must demonstrate:
- Full state licensure for the position, if it's required.
- A completed degree in a field directly related to the position, or equivalent experience in the field.
- Expertise in the field.
Costs for sponsoring H1B visas depend on the size of the company. The fees include:
- I-129 Fee
- American Competitiveness and Workplace Improvement Act Fee
- Fraud detection and prevention Fee
You can pay a premium processing fee to make sure the visa application is processed within 15 days. Otherwise, the application takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months process.