What Computer Programmers Need to Know About H-1B Visas

When you’re a resident of a foreign country, and you want to come to the United States, there are multiple options you can use. However, if your goal is to work in the US temporarily, the best avenue is an H-1B visa. This program is designed for US-based employers to obtain skilled help to fill specialty positions, such as computer programming. You must meet specific requirements as a computer programmer aiming for an H-1B visa, and we’ll explain those, as well as how to obtain the visa, here.

Do You Meet the Entry Requirements to Be a Computer Programmer?

You have the knowledge and skills to do the job, or wouldn’t be considering applying for a computer programmer position. However, a more important question is whether you meet the requirements as determined by USCIS, the governing agency of the H-1B visa.

Per the definition of a computer programmer under USCIS standards, the applicant must specialize in all aspects of programming necessary for software and applications to function properly. This includes writing code, modifying and testing it, and scripting formulas. Jobs in this category take all designs created by software engineers and developers and turn them into coding that computers can follow to perform the desired output.

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, you could qualify for an H-1B visa. However, there are other aspects that must be met, including:

●     A bachelor’s degree or higher in a field that directly corresponds with the job opening; this degree must be similar to those in parallel industries to other computer programmers in the US.

●     An approved Labor Condition Application (LCA), filed to the Department of Labor (DOL) by the sponsoring employer and including the terms and conditions of the employer-employee contract.

●     Evidence from the employer that they tried and failed to find qualified applicants to fill the position from the pool of qualified candidates in the United States.

●     Proof that you have the skills, expertise, and experience to perform the job duties as laid out in the LCA.

When all of these criteria are met, the sponsoring employer must also be willing to pay the hefty fees associated with petitioning for the H-1B visa.

Computer Programming H-1B Visas by the Numbers

Paying the fees doesn’t always guarantee the visa is approved. However, the field of computer programming is a highly specialized industry, and the applicants who complete petitions are almost always approved. The approval rate is down slightly from 2015, when it had a 99.09% approval. In 2022, this rate was 98.98%.

Part of the requirements for an H-1B visa is that the employee must receive the average prevailing wage for the job, and it must be competitive. In computer programming, the amount you’re offered for an annual salary highly depends on the company extending the job offer and the geographic region of the job. The average median salary ranges from $50,000 to $100,000, with the top-paying cities located in New York, San Francisco, and Houston.

What to Expect When Processing Your H-1B Visa

The processing time for any H-1B visa depends on the details of your case, whether you’ve completed all the parts thoroughly, and the service center handling your petition. It can take anywhere from one month to one year to fully process a visa. The California and Nebraska service centers average up to 4.5 months. On the other hand, the Vermont service center’s average is hitting slightly over one year.

If USCIS requests more evidence, this adds time to the processing. The sooner you provide the information requested, the quicker they will continue reviewing your petition. However, when you work with immigration experts like Visa2US, it’s less likely that there will be any mistakes or requests for more info.

Will the Sponsor Pay the Fees?

The next consideration is whether the employer extending the job offer understands what they’re getting into as far as fees. If they’ve hired an H-1B employee before, they know that it’s not cheap. The fees fall into the lap of the sponsoring employer. The employee is only allowed to cover the $2,500 premium processing fee and only if the reason for expediting the request meets specific requirements.

Otherwise, the fees include a $10 registration cost, a basic filing fee, a Public Law fee, the USCIS Anti-Fraud fee, the ACWIA Education and Training fee, and any applicable attorney fees.

What’s Next?

Computer programming is a field highly sought after by employers in the United States.  Yet, per the Trump Administration, USCIS officers are able to require additional proof of knowledge and skills for entry-level computer programming jobs. To ensure your petition meets the requirements and avoid timely delays, let Visa2US help you complete your H-1B visa journey.

The new regulations make it more likely that computer-related positions will receive a Request for Evidence (RFE). When you have Visa2US helping you throughout the process, this delay becomes a minor one instead of a time-consuming headache.

Before you begin the work required to hire an H-1B employee or find a sponsoring employer, contact our experts at Visa2US. We’re available 24/7 and ready to assist you as you make the career change and move out of your comfort zone to improve your professional and personal life.

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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.