How Assistant Professors Can Work Under an H-1B Visa

Under the H-1B Visa, non-immigrants can enter the United States for work and temporary residence. The only catch is that these individuals must have the skills to meet the criteria of a “specialty occupation.” If there’s a job vacancy in the US and an employer extends a job offer and is willing to sponsor the non-immigrant, they can apply for an H-1B visa. One of the possible specialty jobs is a professor, but does an assistant professor fall into this category? Read on to find out!

The Field of Teaching and Assistant Instruction

In the past decade, the field of teaching has undergone substantial reform, with many vacancies left open in grades K-12 and secondary learning institutions. This applies to the public and private sectors.

Instructors of all kinds are in demand, but for the most part, only secondary institution professors fall into the “specialty occupation” category. However, this depends on the level of education required for the job. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field directly related to the position in question and other specific skills, experience, and expertise are necessary.

These skills are typically found in secondary institution teaching positions where a degree in the subject matter is part of the requisite skillset. Assistant professors who meet the eligibility requirements for the job can apply for an H-1B visa if they are offered a position from an approved sponsor.

The Requirements for an H-1B Teaching Visa

The assistant professor role falls under the specialty occupation category. Yet, not every person with an instructional background meets the requirements of this field. USCIS has the ultimate say in whether a petitioner is eligible, but in general, they look for these factors:

●     The applicant has a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent degree) in a field directly related to the job vacancy.

●     The educational background must be from an accredited US institution or its equivalent.

●     If the applicant has a foreign degree, US regulations permit USCIS to consider the experience in place of the degree. This usually includes three years of relevant and progressive experience in the field for every one year of college studies.

●     The applicant must already have the license to practice teaching in the jurisdiction where they’ve applied. If they can’t obtain the license before they enter the US because of lack of a social security number, they can alternatively contact the licensing board and receive documentation that they have met all of the requirements for the license aside from that one factor.

Finally, the employer petitioning on behalf of the assistant professor must have a valid, approved Labor Condition Application (LCA). This document is filed with the Department of Labor. It is proof that the job vacancy is a specialty occupation and that, by hiring the non-immigrant, the US economy will not be adversely affected. 

With the LCA, the employer agrees to specific stipulations, such as paying the assistant professor the prevailing wage for the position and supplying the H-1B holder with proper working conditions similar to others employed in the area.

Data for Assistant Professors Under an H-1B Visa

Over the yeast, the approval rate for assistant professor visa requests has slowly improved. In fact, in 2015, the denial rate was over 2%, compared to .06% in 2022.

The average prevailing wage has increased, as well. It remains under the six-figure threshold that government legislation is hoping to pass in 2023, but the average salary for assistant professors in 2022 was $98,669. The specific institution you work in determines your pay, but overall, the average median salary ranges from around $80,061 to $195,791. Mountain View, CA is the highest-paying region, but other cities, such as New York, NY and Seattle, WA, also pay comparable salaries.

Processing Your H-1B Visa

H-1B petitions are cut and dried, but complicated nonetheless. USCIS has specific features they look for in the application, and if you don’t check all the boxes, yours will be rejected or denied. This strict process is why so many applicants use legal help like Visa2US to aid them in the petition process.

Once your paperwork is completed, compiled, and submitted, it can take up to 11 months for USCIS to review it and determine if you are eligible for the H-1B visa or not. The length of time for this step depends on the service center processing your petition. California and Nebraska’s service centers average 2.5-4.5 months, and the Vermont center takes longer.

When submitting each part of the application, the employer must ensure they’ve completed each part completely and attached the appropriate fee.

What’s Next?

Ready to see if you (or your potential employer will) qualify as an assistant professor? Contact Visa2US today to let us help you get the process started. Because this is a complex system requiring extensive knowledge of immigration law, it makes time and financial sense to hire an expert to help you throughout the process.

At Visa2US, our legal professionals are available 24/7 to answer your questions, calm your worries, and guide you as you put together the paperwork for your H-1B visa. With our assistance and your skills, you’ll be on your way to that dream assistant professor job in the United States soon!

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.