$99,000 Working in U.S: Requirements And VISA Sponsorship Procedures

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Working in the United States offers exciting opportunities for individuals seeking employment in various industries and professions.

If you’re considering working in the U.S. with a salary of $99,000 or more, understanding the requirements and visa sponsorship procedures is crucial for a successful transition to employment in the country.

Visa Options for Employment at $99,000 Salary

If you’re considering working in the United States with a salary of $99,000 or more, several visa options cater to individuals with specialized skills, qualifications, and expertise. Understanding these visa categories is essential for determining the most suitable pathway to secure employment in the U.S. Here are some visa options commonly pursued by individuals earning $99,000 or above:

1. H-1B Visa

  • Overview: The H-1B visa is designed for foreign professionals in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
  • Salary Requirement: Generally, employers must pay H-1B visa holders the prevailing wage for the specific occupation, which often aligns with or exceeds the $99,000 threshold.
  • Eligibility: Requires a job offer from a U.S. employer and a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in the field.
  • Application Process: Employers must file a petition on behalf of the candidate during the annual H-1B visa application period.

2. L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee)

  • Overview: The L-1 visa allows multinational companies to transfer employees from an overseas office to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  • Salary Requirement: While there is no strict salary requirement, L-1 visa holders are typically paid at a level comparable to U.S. employees in similar positions.
  • Eligibility: Requires at least one year of employment with a qualifying multinational company outside the U.S. in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.
  • Application Process: The U.S. employer must file an L-1 petition with supporting documentation.

3. O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement)

  • Overview: The O-1 visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability or achievement in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • Salary Requirement: While there is no specific salary threshold, O-1 visa holders typically earn substantial compensation commensurate with their extraordinary abilities.
  • Eligibility: Requires evidence of sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in the field of expertise.
  • Application Process: Involves preparing a comprehensive petition demonstrating extraordinary ability and achievements.

READ ALSO: $33,000 U.S Visa Sponsorship Opportunities in 2024/2025 – Apply Now

4. EB-2 and EB-3 Employment-Based Green Cards

  • Overview: The EB-2 and EB-3 green card categories are employment-based immigrant visas for individuals with advanced degrees, exceptional abilities, or skilled and unskilled workers.
  • Salary Requirement: Employers must offer a competitive wage that meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for the occupation.
  • Eligibility: Requires a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer and labor certification (PERM) approval for most positions.
  • Application Process: Involves a multi-step process, including labor certification, immigrant petition, and adjustment of status or consular processing.

H-1B Visa Eligibility and Process

The H-1B visa program enables U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Here’s an in-depth look at the eligibility criteria and process for obtaining an H-1B visa:

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Job Offer from U.S. Employer:
    • You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor your H-1B visa.
    • The job must qualify as a specialty occupation, meaning it requires specialized knowledge and typically a bachelor’s degree in a specific field related to the position.
  2. Educational Qualifications:
    • You must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent) in a field related to the specialty occupation.
    • Alternatively, you can demonstrate equivalent work experience or training that is relevant to the specialty occupation.
  3. Employer’s Attestations:
    • The employer must attest to specific conditions, including offering a wage that meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for the occupation in the geographic area of employment.
    • The employer must also confirm that employing the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  4. Employer-Employee Relationship:
    • The employer must establish a valid employer-employee relationship with the H-1B visa holder, which includes the ability to hire, pay, supervise, and terminate employment.

Application Process:

  1. Labor Condition Application (LCA):
    • Before filing the H-1B petition with USCIS, the employer must obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL).
    • The LCA specifies the terms and conditions of employment, including the wage offered and the location of employment.
  2. Filing the H-1B Petition:
    • Once the LCA is certified, the employer files Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS, along with supporting documentation.
    • This includes evidence of the job offer, the beneficiary’s qualifications, and the employer’s ability to pay the offered wage.
  3. H-1B Lottery (if applicable):
    • Due to high demand, USCIS conducts an annual lottery to select H-1B petitions for processing.
    • If the number of petitions exceeds the annual cap (65,000 regular cap + 20,000 advanced degree exemption), USCIS randomly selects petitions for adjudication.
  4. Approval and Visa Issuance:
    • If the H-1B petition is approved, the beneficiary (employee) can apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad, if necessary.
    • Once the visa is issued, the beneficiary can enter the U.S. and begin working for the sponsoring employer in the approved specialty occupation.

Duration and Extensions:

  • Initially, H-1B visas are granted for up to three years, with the possibility of extension for an additional three years.
  • Extensions beyond the six-year limit may be available under certain circumstances, such as when the H-1B holder is the beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition (I-140) or has a pending green card application.

Understanding the intricacies of the H-1B visa process is essential for employers and prospective H-1B applicants alike.

L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transfers

The L-1 visa is a valuable option for multinational companies looking to transfer key employees to the United States. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the L-1 visa eligibility requirements and the application process:

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Qualifying Relationship:
    • The U.S. employer and the foreign employer must have a qualifying relationship, such as being part of the same multinational company (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch).
  2. Employee Qualifications:
    • The employee being transferred must have worked for the foreign employer continuously for at least one year within the last three years in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.
  3. Executive or Managerial Capacity (L-1A):
    • Executives and managers eligible for L-1A visas primarily perform executive or managerial duties, such as directing the management of an organization or a major component or function.
  4. Specialized Knowledge Capacity (L-1B):
    • Employees with specialized knowledge about the company’s products, services, research, systems, or procedures are eligible for L-1B visas.

Application Process:

  1. File Form I-129:
    • The U.S. employer (petitioner) must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the employee.
  2. Submit Supporting Documents:
    • The petition should include evidence establishing the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities, the employee’s qualifying employment abroad, and the intended role in the U.S.
  3. L-1 Blanket Petition (if applicable):
    • Certain multinational companies may qualify for an L-1 blanket petition, which allows for expedited processing of multiple L-1 visa applications.
  4. Apply for L-1 Visa:
    • Once the L-1 petition is approved, the employee can apply for an L-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad (if the employee is not already in the U.S.).
  5. Enter the U.S.:
    • Upon visa issuance, the employee can enter the U.S. and begin working for the sponsoring employer’s U.S. office in the approved capacity.

Duration and Extensions:

  • L-1A visas are initially granted for up to one year if establishing a new office in the U.S. or up to three years for existing offices. Extensions can be granted in two-year increments, up to a maximum of seven years for L-1A visa holders.
  • L-1B visas are initially granted for up to three years, with extensions available in two-year increments, up to a maximum of five years.

Advantages of the L-1 Visa:

  • No annual cap: Unlike the H-1B visa, there is no annual numerical limit on L-1 visas.
  • Pathway to Permanent Residency: L-1 visa holders may be eligible to apply for permanent residency (green card) through employment-based immigration avenues.

The L-1 visa facilitates the transfer of skilled employees within multinational companies, supporting global operations and promoting business growth in the United States.

Employer Sponsorship Obligations

Employers sponsoring foreign workers for U.S. visas have specific obligations they must fulfill to comply with immigration laws and regulations. Understanding these obligations is crucial for both employers and sponsored employees. Here’s a summary of key sponsorship obligations:

1. Labor Condition Application (LCA) for H-1B and E-3 Visas

  • Overview: Employers sponsoring foreign workers on H-1B or E-3 visas must file a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
  • Obligations: The LCA requires the employer to attest to several conditions, including:
    • Paying the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to similarly employed workers, whichever is higher.
    • Providing working conditions that will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers.
    • Not displacing U.S. workers with H-1B or E-3 workers within a certain period before and after the visa petition is filed.
  • More Information: Learn more about the LCA requirements and process on the Department of Labor’s LCA page.

2. Prevailing Wage Determination

  • Overview: Employers sponsoring foreign workers for employment-based visas must ensure that the offered wage meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for the occupation in the geographic area of employment.
  • Obligations: The employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) to establish the appropriate wage level for the position.
  • More Information: Access prevailing wage information and resources on the Department of Labor’s Prevailing Wage Determination page.

3. Form I-9 Compliance

  • Overview: Employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of all employees, including sponsored foreign workers, by completing Form I-9.
  • Obligations: Employers must ensure proper completion and retention of Form I-9 for each employee, documenting their eligibility to work in the United States.
  • More Information: Access Form I-9 resources and guidance on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 page.

4. Compliance with Visa Regulations

  • Overview: Employers must ensure ongoing compliance with visa regulations, including maintaining accurate records, reporting changes in employment status or work location, and adhering to visa conditions.
  • Obligations: Employers must cooperate with government audits and investigations related to visa sponsorship and compliance.
  • More Information: Stay informed about visa regulations and compliance requirements through the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Services page.

Impact of Salary on Visa Category

The salary offered to a foreign worker can significantly impact the visa category for which they are eligible in the United States. Different visa categories have specific salary thresholds and requirements based on the nature of the employment and the skills needed. Here’s how salary can impact visa categorization:

1. H-1B Visa vs. L-1 Visa

  • H-1B Visa:
    • Salary Impact: The H-1B visa is commonly used for skilled workers in specialty occupations. The salary offered must meet the prevailing wage for the occupation in the geographic area of employment.
    • Requirements: The employer must demonstrate that the position requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the salary offered must be commensurate with the level of experience and expertise required.
  • L-1 Visa:
    • Salary Impact: The L-1 visa is for intracompany transferees, including executives, managers, and employees with specialized knowledge. While there’s no strict salary requirement, the salary offered should be competitive and reflective of the employee’s role and qualifications.
    • Requirements: The employee must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one year in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.

EB-3 Green Card

  • EB-2 Green Card:
    • Salary Impact: The EB-2 category is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities. The offered salary must meet the prevailing wage for the occupation and demonstrate that the position requires advanced expertise.
    • Requirements: The employee must possess an advanced degree or equivalent experience, and the employer may need to obtain a labor certification (PERM) showing no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.

EB-3 Green Card:

  • Salary Impact: The EB-3 category is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The salary offered must meet the prevailing wage for the occupation in the geographic area.
  • Requirements: The employee must have at least two years of work experience or relevant education, and the employer may need to obtain a labor certification (PERM) demonstrating the unavailability of U.S. workers for the position.

Understanding the impact of salary on visa categorization is crucial for employers and foreign workers navigating the U.S. immigration system.

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