Visa Solutions for Highly Skilled Workers

For highly skilled workers or professionals to work or immigrate to the United States, application for H1B visa, H1B1 visa, TN visa or Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) may be considered an option. H1B visa, H1B1 visa and TN visa are non-immigrant visas, while PERM is the first stage for obtaining a PERM-based immigrant visa or green card. VISA2US provides streamlined online application solutions for H1B visa, H1B1 visa, TN visa and PERM.

What is H-1B1 visa?

H1B1 visa was established by the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. H1B1 visa is a variant of H1B visa, specifically for Chileans and Singaporeans temporarily working in a specialty occupation. Permanent residents of Singapore or Chile, who are citizens of other countries, are not eligible for H-1B1 visas.

Different from H-1B, H-1B1 is not a dual intent visa. H-1B1 applicants must show that he/she has a residence abroad, has not intent of abandoning such residence and intends to leave the U.S. upon the expiration of H-1B1 status. H-1B1 visa holders cannot apply for green cards during their stay in the U.S. However, they can have future immigrant intent when they are no longer H-1B1 visa holders.

Qualification

The term “specialty occupation” is interpreted the same as H-1B with few exceptions. Particularly, although the normal minimum requirement for an H-1B visa is a specialized bachelor's degree, the trade agreements with Chile and Singapore permit alternate credentials in certain professions, such as agricultural manager, physical therapist or management consultant. Therefore, the definition of the specialty occupation in H1B1 visa is somewhat broader than that for H1B visa.

The job position must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the position.
  • The degree requirement is common in the industry in parallel positions or the job is so complex or unique that a degree is required.
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
  • Nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

The prospective employee must meet the following criteria to be qualified to accept a job offer:

  • Have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation, or have experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree; and
  • Recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty.
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes the practice in the specialty occupation, if required.

However, few professions do not require a baccalaureate degree; extensive training and special skills may also qualify for H-1B1 visa.

For Chilean nationals, there are four exceptions, as provided under Appendix 14.3(D)(2) of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement:

PROFESSION MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS AND ALTERNATIVE CREDENTIALS
Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree, or Titulo Profesional, and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
Management Consultant Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree, or Titulo Profesional. If the degree is in a discipline not related to the area of the consulting agreement, then equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to three years experience in a field or specialty related to the consulting agreement is required
Agricultural Manager Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree; or Titulo Profesional; or post-secondary certificate requiring three years of study in the specialty and three years experience in the specialty.
Physical Therapist Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree; or Titulo Profesional; or post-secondary certificate requiring three years of study in the specialty and three years experience in the specialty.

For Singaporean nationals, there are two exceptions, as provided under Appendix 11A.2 of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement:

PROFESSION MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS AND ALTERNATIVE CREDENTIALS
Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster Baccalaureate Degree, and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
Management Consultant Baccalaureate Degree. If the degree is in a discipline not related to the area of the consulting agreement, then equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to three years experience in a field or specialty related to the consulting agreement is required.

Period of Stay and Extension

H-1B1 visa is generally valid for one year to 18 months. Maximum stay is one year at a time. H-1B1 can be renewed indefinitely in one-year increments. This is different from H-1B visas, which has a six-year maximum limit on the extension. Therefore, H-1B1 visa holders may stay indefinitely as long as they show the intent to return once the H-1B1 visa expires. H-1B1 visa holders may apply for extension 4 to 6 months before the expiration date.

Portability Rule

Unlike H-1B, portability rule does not apply to H-1B1 visa holders. Therefore, H-1B1 visa holders cannot start a new job before a new visa approval, either a new H-1B1 visa or other types of visa, is granted. This leaves H-1B1 visa holder less flexibility to change job, compared with H-1B.

Cap

The caps for Chile and Singapore are different. 1400 H-1B1 visas are provided to Chile and 5400 H-1B1 visas are provided to Singapore. In total, there are 6800 H-1B1 visas may be being granted each year.

Dependents of TN Holders

Spouses and children under the age of 21 accompanying or following to join a H-1B visa holder may apply for H-4 nonimmigration status. They are not allowed to work but they are permitted to study in the U.S.