R-1 Visa2018-03-13T01:36:08+00:00

R-1 Visa

The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis, under provisions of U.S. law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Our approach to processing R-1 Visas

An R-1 is a foreign national who could be temporarily employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

Important Note: It is very important for prospective employers to file the petition as soon as possible (but not more than 6 months before the proposed employment will begin) to provide adequate time for petition and subsequent visa processing.

Religious workers include persons authorized, by a recognized employing entity, to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

  • The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are either exempt from taxation or qualifies for tax-exempt status; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately preceding applying for religious worker status. The applicant is planning to work as a minister of that denomination, or in a religious occupation or vocation for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such an organization). There is no requirement that individuals applying for “R” visas have a residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their lawful status, absent specific indications or evidence to the contrary. The applicant has resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year, if he or she has previously spent five years in this category.

Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), he or she must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry.

Important Note: Visa applicants must bring the approved I-129 petition receipt number to the interview, so that petition approval can be verified.

There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition. These requirements are listed in the chart below.

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as the following supporting documents:

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker

Proof of tax-exempt status
· If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization
· If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling
· If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:
A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;
Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
Organizational literature; and
A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (see the links to the right).
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
· Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation. Evidence of compensation may include:
Past evidence of compensation for similar positions
Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.
Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker
If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided
If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation
If the religious worker will be self-supporting
· Documents that establish the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination
· Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:
Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;
Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;
The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and
Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.
· Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
· Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program
· Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work
· Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS
Proof of membership
· Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of Form I-129
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
· A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
· Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination. Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
· If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination
Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)
· If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
· If you received non-salaried compensation:
If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS
· If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

12Mar, 2012

R-1 Visa Memorandum

This memorandum provides instruction to Immigration Service Officers who adjudicate R-1 nonimmigrant petitions for aliens who are coming to the [...]

Rule Designed to Welcome Foreign Entrepreneurs with Non immigrant Visa Option

On May 10th , the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden Administration is looking to revive an Obama era rule granting foreign investors a nonimmigrant visa option. As a first step, the Administration will formally withdraw the proposed rule published at 83 FR 24415 on 5/29/18, which would have removed regulations on the international entrepreneur parole program.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration waited until the very last minute to make a nonimmigrant visa option available to foreign entrepreneurs. While the L and E visa options are immediately available options, the E-2 Visa is restricted to treaty countries (for instance, citizens of India and China do not qualify for the E-2 visa). The L-1A visa option has always suffered from a perception problem in that the USCIS uses the same yardstick to measure recent startups as they do well-established multinational corporations.  This leads to unreasonable requests for documentation and evidence evincing eligibility. And for this reason, “startups” have found it very difficult to qualify and sustain petitions filed under the L-1 visa program.

The International Entrepreneurship Rule (IER), planned to make available “parole” on a case-by-case basis to entrepreneurs who would provide significant public benefit to the United States; some key factors for eligibility would be:

  • the entrepreneur’s ownership stake and leadership role
  • the growth potential of the startup
  • competitive research grants ($100,000 or more) from federal, state, and local government agencies; and/or
  • investment by qualified American investors ($250,000, or more).

The proposed rule would have allowed qualified entrepreneurs to remain in the United States for an initial period of up to two years, followed by one additional period of up to three years contingent on meeting certain additional benchmarks.

While the Trump Administration did not favor the rule, it did not follow through on an initial effort to kill it. Signaling instead that it was not favored, was adequate to keep applicants at bay. Hardly anyone applied and it was rumored that no more than ten applications were ever filed under the program.

While it is relatively easy for a foreign investor to start a business in the U.S., running it from and settling in the U.S. has been anything but. So, it is indeed a welcome sign that the current administration is thinking about reviving the IER.

However, it must be understood that while the proposed rule is indeed a step in the right direction, it must undergo certain necessary changes to be appealing to foreign entrepreneurs. At the outset, in the immigration context, the concept of “parole” is used to refer to a “travel document” that allows the holder to enter and temporarily remain in the United States. Unfortunately, it also does not permit the holder to change, or otherwise adjust status in the U.S. This could pose a significant problem for the entrepreneur and his family. For instance, any plan that requires the entrepreneur to serve as an employee upon the sale or reorganization of a business, may not be viable.

An additional problem may be encountered by individuals who are already in the U.S. in a different visa category (H or L) but would have to give up their ability to change or adjust status if they chose to obtain “parole” through the IER.

What is also not clear is whether seeking “parole” would invalidate the applicant’s immigrant visa option making it impossible to adjust status while temporarily seeking the protection of the IER.

Allowing holders of the IER “visa” to change and/or adjust status in the U.S. would allow for greater flexibility and make the category more appealing to foreign entrepreneurs.

Spouses can work with proper work authorization (must file an application for employment authorization (EAD) on Form I-765); however smaller couples who jointly run their business may find this a significant challenge given the fact that current average processing times for EADs is close to 10 months. In other words, the rule must be revised to allow spouses who work together, when appropriate, to acquire status jointly.

Other changes including offering the initial visa for a three-year period instead of two would allow the foreign entrepreneur to consolidate investment and run things uninterruptedly for a longer period, before having to apply for an extension. These small but necessary changes could see this visa option becoming an attractive alternative to entrepreneurs from India and China. It is not enough to merely offer an immigration option if it does nothing to serve the needs of the entrepreneur it is designed to benefit.

After the current census, one thing is abundantly clear. America is desperately in need of immigrants and this is not an exaggeration.  Slowing population growth means slowing economic growth. Older adults are likely to outnumber children for the first time in our history. While having more children is always an option, the significant advantage one gains by having a more welcoming immigration policy is obvious. We can both select and monitor the arriving immigrant and make the policy work for us. A well-educated, highly qualified immigrant with significant resources like the one designed to benefit from the IER would be perfect. Having contributed nothing to educate the candidate, or help him raise the finances, we would simply benefit from the entrepreneurial zeal and job creation that would result from his or her immigration. Creating ways for legal immigrants to enter the U.S. and contributing to the economy would be mutually beneficial and rewarding. As former President Obama said in his State of the Union Address in 2016, “America is every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley, racing to shape a better world. That’s who we are.”

On this women’s month

By Yasmin Blackburn, Esq.

I think about the most important woman in my life. The woman who gave birth to me, the woman who raised me, the woman who was an excellent role model for me and our family. She always, always tried to do the right thing. She was a beautiful soul who exuded grace, elegance, and a charming genteel manner.

Kathleen A. Blackburn was my best friend, guide, confidant and most importantly, my mother!  While it may be easy to identify her by her chosen profession, nursing, it would not do justice to a human being who, above all else, was a caring soul with so much to give and share.  My mom came from a different time where you chose your profession and had the fortitude to stay with it throughout your career. Improving your skills, training the ones who came after you, and striving for excellence rather than recognition was most important to her.

At 14, Kathleen became a candy striper at Gorgas Hospital in Panama City. Gorgas was an enormous hospital built on an imposing hill by the French then modernized and managed through the US occupation of Panama. My mom was undaunted by the history and size of the building.  Instead, all she talked about was how much she learned from the experience. She developed a lifelong love for the field of nursing. She cherished the time she spent taking care of patients.

In the mid-60s, my mom came to the US.  She was only 16 years old.  Petite and dark complexioned, she was not readily welcomed by a country fraught with the racial tensions and of that period.  She was determined to earn her nursing degree and continue what she had left behind in Panama.  She eventually graduated from John Adams High School in Queens, NY.  This is significant because officials tried to hold her and the rest of my family back because they were coming from “a third world” country.  Undeterred, she faced the racism, prejudice and xenophobia head-on and stayed focused on completing her education on time.  A diminutive, quiet person, my mom was still a force of nature. This was particularly true when she absolutely wanted something.  She was determined to graduate and get into a good nursing program as quickly as possible.  After graduating, and while waiting to find out where she was admitted, my mom started working at the “Book of the Month Club” and in the diamond district.  She had worked for a little over 2 years before realizing that corporate America was not her calling.  She needed to go back to helping and caring for people.  She began applying for nursing schools once again.

My mom was accepted to Central Nursing School on Roosevelt Island, New York.  While there, she received her LPN license and began working at Cumberland Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.  She worked in her favorite unit, the newborn nursery, for many years before going back to school for her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College and her master’s degree from Jersey City State University.  Along the way, my mom realized that although she loved working with newborns, the crack epidemic was decimating the African American community. For her bachelor’s, she chose to major in psychiatry with a specialization in alcohol detox.  Later, she admitted to me the fear she felt some days when her clients were in throws of violent fits and rages sometimes from drugs, sometimes from psychiatric disorders and sometimes from a combination of both, but she was determined to help them in any way she could.  She had to be escorted to her car on many occasions after a family member or former patient threated her life, she even had a knife put to her throat in a dark parking lot by a former patient looking for drugs or money.  She talked her way out of that particularly dangerous situation and resolved to come back the next day and just park in a different location. And yet, she never once thought about leaving nursing.  For 35 years, many of them as a head nurse, my mom worked for the Health and Hospitals Corporation of New York before finally retiring as a Nursing Supervisor from the Psychiatry Unit.

While dedicated to her career, my mom was also extremely active in the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York.  Because of financial constraints, my mom could not participate in Girl Scouting in Panama.  But when the Council asked for volunteers to start a troop, I volunteered my mom and she jumped right in.  My mom and the other women who later became like surrogate mothers to me, started Troop 2279 at St. Therese of Liseux or Little Flower in Brooklyn, NY. At its height, the troop had over 100 girls of every age group.  It lasted for over 15 years.  During that time, our troop began a partnership with St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for a special mass to honor our Afro Latina Heritage.  Our troop took cruises and other amazing trips, while serving the community.  These may seem like small things, but for a troop of black and brown kids in the 1980s and 1990s it was significant. We were exposed to so much that we did not realize what was going on around us.  We were in a safe cocoon where we could grow, explore, and cultivate relationships that last to this day.  When I started my own Girl Scout Troop, my mom came to the meetings so often I asked her to become our medical and CPR person.  The leadership of Girl Scouts of Connecticut thought she lived in Connecticut rather than New York.  But that was my mom…. a caring soul who never stopped giving.

My mom began to develop a love of gardening once we moved into our home.  You would see my mom in her garden at all hours of the day and night.  She planted all year long and often told me plants are life.  It was not unusual to see her having an outright conversation with her plants.  I thought she was going a little crazy, but she said she talked to them the same way she talked to me.  She talked to me because she loved to see how my mind worked and she wanted to encourage me to feel comfortable expressing myself.  (I am sure she regretted that at some point 😊) She said plants were the same way.  They thrive and flourish from the energy surrounding them.  She gave them light, food, patient cultivation and words of love. In return, they grew big and beautiful.  To this day, I have a Christmas Cacti that my mom gave to me as a present.  Throughout the year, the plant is plain and green.  It is nice enough, but right at Christmas time it sprouts the most beautiful delicate, pink buds.  This is how I think of my mom…. she gave light, laughter, words of love and patient cultivation all my life.  The force of her love bloomed just at the right moments to spread happiness and good cheer all around. And I feel much like her plant, nurtured, happy and loved unconditionally!

USCIS May Reopen H-1B Petitions Denied Under Three Rescinded Policy Memos

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced it may reopen and/or reconsider adverse decisions on Form I-129, Petition for a Non immigrant Worker, made based on three rescinded policy memos. USCIS will generally use its discretion to accept a motion to reopen filed more than 30 days after the decision, if filed before the end of the validity period requested on the petition or labor condition application, whichever is earlier, and the decision was based on one or more policies in the rescinded H-1B memoranda below.

On June 17, 2020, USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0114, which officially rescinded two prior policy memoranda:

  • HQ 70/6.2.8 (AD 10-24), “Determining Employer-Employee Relationship for Adjudication of H-1B Petitions, Including Third-Party Site Placements (Reference AFM Chapter 31.3(g)(16)),” issued, Jan. 8, 2010; and
  • PM-602-0157, “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites,” issued Feb. 22, 2018.

On Feb. 3, 2021, USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0142.1, which officially rescinded:

  • PM-602-0142, “Rescission of the December 22, 2000 ‘Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions’,” issued March 31, 2017.

Both Policy Memorandum 602-0114 and Policy Memorandum 602-0142.1 state that they apply to “any pending or new [H-1B Petitions], including motions on and appeals of revocations and denials of H-1B classification.”

A petitioner may request that USCIS reopen and/or reconsider adverse decisions based on the three rescinded policy memos by properly filing Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, accompanied by the appropriate fee. In addition, USCIS has the discretionary authority to accept and consider untimely motions under certain circumstances as explained in the form instructions and permitted by regulation.

Petitioners who received an adverse decision on an H-1B petition based on the now-rescinded policy memoranda should consider whether there is time remaining in the validity period requested on the previously filed H-1B petition and the relevant labor condition application.

Additionally, USCIS recently extended through March 31, 2021, COVID-19 related accommodations that affect the deadlines for filing motions and appeals.

USCIS will generally process motions based on filing order, and consistent with current policy guidance.

USCIS reminds petitioners that even when a motion to reopen or reconsider is filed, accepted, and processed by USCIS, petitions will remain subject to all remaining and relevant eligibility requirements during any reopening or reconsideration.

Naturalization

Dear Attorney Kidambi,

We would like to thank you for guiding us through the N400 interview process. You have always been so wonderful!!!!
We would like to thank you for your help and guidance from the bottom of our hearts. We really appreciate it.

— Mani & Usha, USA, E-mail

Citizenship

I had my citizenship interview today and the process was similar to what you had described. I am proud to say that I am now a U.S. citizen. I wanted to thank you and your team for all the support provided throughout my journey that started with my green card application 10 years ago.

— Sunil, USA, E-mail

Why We Need to Recognize Black History Every Month

By Yasmin Blackburn, Esq.

As a first-generation immigrant from Panama, Black History Month was hard to understand. Why was it relegated to the shortest and coldest month of the year? For instance, at home, we “celebrated” black history all the time! Every day, every month, every year!  My parents and grandparents were active in their communities and everyone around me was doing amazing things.  All my life, I heard stories about my paternal great grandmother who was an entrepreneur in Panama and my maternal great grandfather who was a landowner and an expert blacksmith on the Panama Canal.  My dad owned a flourishing business and was a respected member of society. My mom, aunts and uncles all had great jobs and were at the top of their fields of endeavor. So, what was I missing?  The posters and books in school were just an extension of what I did at home because my dad and grandfather were voracious and avid readers. They encouraged me to read and presented me with books all the time.  Autobiographies were my favorite and so, appreciating my blackness, our shared greatness and black history came naturally. There was no need to be reminded of the obvious!

However, college changed my perspective. My Honors thesis (dedicated to my beautiful and supportive Mother) focused on the differences between slavery in the US and the Caribbean. My research made me realize, slavery and the subsequent periods of “Reconstruction” were extremely discriminatory.  I also realized that prejudicial practices in the United States allowed the black American story to be trivialized and their contributions to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and government, minimalized, or all but eliminated.

While writing my master’s thesis and trying to explain these practices to my committee, I came across a quote from Carolyn Jones in a book by Dr. Marilyn Kern-Foxworth. I have alluded to it in part many times over the past 20 years.

Someone hands you a picture of your high-school class. The first thing you do is look for your friends to see how you look compared to them. Then you settle back and enjoy the picture as a whole. If you missed school that day and you’re not in the picture, you’d feel bad. But if someone arbitrarily cropped you out, you’d probably be angry. That’s how many blacks feel about much of the advertising presented about them. 

And that is when I had my aha moment! Black History month is about filling voids. Omissions and excisions of achievements and contributions from black people in the United States have led to the perception that people of color did not contribute to this great nation.  Once I finished law school, my perspective shifted again.  I became the “first” to do SO many things in my community and my family. And yet, none seemed either earth shattering or particularly difficult.

When my children came along, I found myself explaining repeatedly why I was so involved and eager to take part in so many activities because it was important for them to SEE themselves in these places.  They had to KNOW it was “possible”. Even if I was not really the first to do certain things, it often seemed I was because of the concerted effort to obscure and erase black achievement in America.  Regrettably, there has been no overt systemic effort to either celebrate or glorify these achievements for the greater good, though Black History Month helps by focusing attention.

Thankfully, I was empowered by the strength of my family, especially my mother, to take chances and explore the various opportunities out there.  I also decided that I had to put myself in places where my voice would be heard and be impactful for people of color. Places, where people of color have traditionally been absent, or otherwise suppressed.

Today, I sit on the Board Development Committee for Girl Scouts of Connecticut because I love Girl Scouts, but also because I wanted to help drive the organization to find and seat people of color on its Board of Directors. I was also asked to sit on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for Girl Scouts of Connecticut to bring a voice to the table and assist the organization with recruiting and retaining girls of color, LGBTQ+, and girls with disabilities.  I was recently asked to chair the Diversity and Inclusion committee for the Connecticut Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to help lawyers develop ways to deal with different perspectives and to see where their biases might prevent them from being the best advocates they can be.  I am also a member of the First and Finest sorority for black women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where I hone my leadership skills and serve my community with pride.

I am a first-generation immigrant and proud American, who knows that the story of a black, female lawyer while not groundbreaking, could still be impactful and inspiring to many who choose to follow. I also realize that sharing my story is important because, without the conversation or the expectation that achievement is possible, posterity will be hard pressed to find positive role models.

I stand on the shoulders of giants and today and every day, we should celebrate our achievements.

Time to Lift the Ban – Scapegoating Professional Visas Hurts the Economy and Stifles Innovation

Be it a Republican administration, or one led by Democrats, a common theme appears to be the raw deal handed to non immigrant professionals. While the Biden administration halted midnight regulations including scrapping a wage-based lottery for the H-1B CAP, it has refrained from revoking the ban on the entry of professionals. This ban, imposed by the Trump administration extends until March 31, 2021.

A recent article in Forbes argues that “The unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations remains well below pre-pandemic levels, making the current immigration ban on the entry of H-1B visa holders unsustainable.” It also rightly references the successful litigation in NAM v. DHS, which stopped the June 2020 proclamation for many employers. The judge’s opinion cited National Foundation for American Policy research on the low unemployment rate in computer occupations.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release entitled, “The Employment Situation”, dated January 2021 reported a dramatic increase in employment in professional and business services, which rose by 97,000, with temporary help services accounting for most of the gain (+81,000). Job growth also occurred in management and technical consulting services (+16,000), computer systems design and related services (+11,000), and scientific research and development services (+10,000). The Occupational Outlook Handbook (relied upon by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) states, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 531,200 new jobs. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security. Information Security Analysts and Software Developer occupations are likely to see a 31% and 22% growth, respectively.

Embassies have slowly reopened and visas are being issued to applicants subject to certain exceptions. The Ban also does not apply to applicants who were in the US on the effective date of the Proclamation (the new restrictions imposed by the proclamation became effective at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 24th ). Also exempt are those who had a valid visa, or those who held a valid travel document on the date of the proclamation. However, the non-resumption of visas for majority of H and L non immigrants, has been severely limiting and hurts several of our clients. One client, for instance, reported a full bench from the previous H-1B season waiting to travel to the U.S. They are limiting the number of H-1Bs they plan to file this year because they are not sure of the Biden administration’s plans to lift the ban.

The H-1B registration process runs from March 9 to March 25 this year. Employers seeking to hire overseas talent would be flying blind because of the lack of guidance. In one of its first actions, the Biden administration put out a Memorandum that seeks to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data. The Memorandum goes on to state: Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government. Scientific findings should never be distorted or influenced by political considerations.

Hopefully, this sentiment will lead to the lifting of the ban on professional visas before the start of H-1B CAP registration next week.

7 Things to Know About the H-1B CAP

The registration process for the H-1B FY2022 lottery begins shortly and we have some tips and general guidelines for those looking to file this year. Our office is happy to assist you with these filings at no charge (except the $10 registration fee charged by USCIS).

 

  1. Registration Period is from March 09th to March 25th
  • The registration process will take place between March 09 and March 25. All registrations must be filed within this timeframe and you must file a registration for each H-1B candidate you wish to sponsor for this year’s cap. Registrations for this year’s cap will not be considered beyond March 25. We strongly suggest you send us this information as soon as possible.

 

    • The sponsoring entity’s legal name (& DBA name) and FEIN
    • The name and position title of the sponsoring entity’s signatory
    • A full copy of the H-1B candidate’s passport (which we can use to get their biographic information);
    • Full copies of the H-1B candidate’s education documents (diplomas and transcripts – for candidates with unrelated degrees please also provide resumes and detailed letters of experience – see discussion below);
    • The H-1B candidate’s current address; and
    • The H-1B candidate’s position title, job duties, salary and work location.

 

  1. Registrations are Specific to the Individual and Non-Transferrable
  • You must file a separate registration for each potential H-1B candidate. These registrations are candidate-specific, meaning that you cannot change your mind later and use a registration for anyone but that person.

 

  1. You May Only File One Registration Per Individual
  • A sponsor may only file one registration per individual. Filing duplicates will result in all registrations for that individual being declared invalid.

 

  1. The Selection Process is NOT based on Salary for the H-1B Cap FY2022
  • The previous administration was in the process of putting rules in place that would base the selection process on salary. Namely, candidates with the highest salaries would be selected for the H-1B cap. The current administration has put this rule on hold for this year’s cap and is considering whether to implement it in the future.

 

  1. H-1B Candidates with Unrelated Degrees
  • A successful candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, in a related field. Education is the baseline that USCIS uses to determine whether a candidate qualifies for an H-1B.
  • USCIS has a process for evaluating a candidate’s professional experience to supplement an unrelated degree. However, utilizing this process is (1) more time consuming and (2) in our experience poses a greater risk of denial. Wherever possible, we strongly suggest employers choose candidates with bachelor’s degrees (or higher) in related degrees.
  • If you choose to proceed with a candidate that holds an unrelated degree, we will need a resume of that individual and detailed letters from previous employers showing at least 3 years, but preferably 6 plus years of related experience.

 

  1. H-1B Master’s Degree Cap Candidates
  • H-1B Cap petition can be filed under one of two categories. The first is the H-1B Regular Cap requiring a candidate with at least a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, in a related field.
  • The second is the H-1B Master’s Cap requiring a candidate with at least a master’s degree from a United States college or university that meets two requirements. These two requirements are: (1) that the school is properly accredited and (2) the school is a public university or other nonprofit institution. It is important to determine before registering the H-1B candidate whether this individual will qualify under the master’s Cap. Once selected for the master’s Cap, an H-1B candidate is unable to switch back to the Regular Cap, even if this individual is ineligible. This could result in the case being rejected or denied by USCIS.
  • We will assist all clients with determining the proper Cap to choose for each H-1B candidate.

 

  1. USCIS should Publish the Selected Individuals by March 31
  • USCIS plans to notify employers of the selected registrants by March 31. Employers will then be given a 90-day time frame to file their H-1B petitions.

 

Please contact us if you have any additional questions regarding the H-1B registration process.

Citizenship

Good Morning,

I became a US citizen. Everything went well, and it was a great day for me. Thank you for your assistance, and the amazing work. Please convey my gratitude to Mr.Kidambi, as this would not happen without his great experience in the field.

— Yan, USA, E-mail

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