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H-1B Visa for Nigerians | IAS

The H-1B visa permits U.S. employers to bring non U.S. nationals who have specialized skills to come and work for them in the United States for a specific period. The roles involved in this work only require a degree or its equivalent.

For more information about H-1B visa for Nigerians, eligibility criteria or other immigration related questions, reach out to one of our immigration lawyers on +23413438882 or our U.S. office on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

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    What Is the H-1B Visa?

    Nigerians who wish to perform services that require exceptional skills may apply for the H-1B visa. The nonimmigrant visa allows United States employers to hire foreign workers with distinguished merit and ability.

    With the H-1B visa, foreign workers can stay and work for their employers temporarily in the U.S. Professional jobs that would require you to have a bachelor’s degree can come under the H-1B. But if you do not have a degree you can provide its equivalence through other qualifications or your work experience for the roles.

    The H-1B visa is needed for specialty occupations that require technical or theoretical expertise. Typically, the occupations that qualify for it are in the fields of architecture, engineering, technology, finance, IT, mathematics, etc.

    The H-1B visas are capped each fiscal year. The applicants exempted from this are the additional first 20,000 petitions filed for applicants with a master’s degree or higher. Also, workers employed at a nonprofit research organization, institute of higher education or government research organization are exempted from the H-1B visa yearly cap.

    Eligibility for the H-1B Visa for Nigerians

    As a Nigerian, to be eligible for the H-1B visa you need to meet the following H-1B visa requirements. They include:

    • A proof that you have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent work experience in that field.
    • A valid offer of employment from a U.S. employer for a role that requires exceptional knowledge.
    • Your employer must prove that they couldn’t get qualified applicants for the role in the U.S.
    • You must have an employer-employee relationship with the U.S. employer that wants you to come and work in the U.S.
    • Have unrestricted state licence or certification that permits you to practice the occupation in the U.S.
    • You’re set to be paid the prevailing or actual wage for your occupation (whichever is higher).

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      Application Process for the H-1B Visa From Nigeria

      There are some steps you need to take for the H-1B visa application from Nigeria. They include:

      LCA Certification

      Employers have to complete the Labour Condition Application (LCA) by submitting Form ETA-9035 to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Thereafter, the employers can now file an H-1B visa petition.

      Employers must submit this application electronically and it must be done not more than 6 months prior to the employment start date.

      Within 7 working days, the application will be reviewed by the DOL. The H-1B petitions will now be filed by employers who have certified LCAs for their potential workers. The main reason for the LCA is to prove that employers and employees have complied with the H-1B visa requirements.

      H-1B Petition Filing Process

      Employers will have to submit Form I-129 Petition and DOL certified LCA for a Nonimmigrant Worker to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). All supporting documents and necessary information to prove eligibility for the employee and employer have to be included.

      Visa Application

      You will have to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy (consular processing) in Nigeria once the petition is approved. You have to schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy near you after filling out the nonimmigrant application Form DS-160 online with a fee.

      At the interview, you’ll need to bring some documents. They include your:

      • Confirmation page printout from your DS-160 form.
      • Application fees receipt.
      • Passport that should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your proposed entry date into the U.S.
      • Passport size photo that needs the requirements of the U.S. State Department.
      • Approved I-129 and I-797 petition.

      You may be asked questions about your travel history, the employer, your job and other questions about yourself.

      When you get to the U.S. port of entry, you will then apply to be admitted in the H-1B status. You must do this through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

      Employee Rights Under the H-1B Visa

      If you’re an employee and a H-1B visa holder, you’re entitled to a number of rights. Your employer has to:

      • Pay you at least the same wage paid to other workers with similar qualification and experience or the prevailing wage for your occupation in the area of the employment.
      • Give you a copy of the LCA.
      • Offer you additional benefits just as they’re given to other workers.
      • Pay for the lost productive time resulting from your lack of license or permit to work.

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        H-1B Visa Fees

        Overview

        There are H-1B visa fees associated with the visa application. There are some fees the employee and the employer will have to pay individually. However, there are some other fees both the employer and employee could pay.

        The employee will pay for the Consular processing (Form DS-160) $190 but other fees will be paid by:

        The Employer

        • Registration fee $10
        • Basic filing fee $460
        • Public law 114-113 fee $4,000
        • Anti-fraud fee $500
        • Education and ACWIA training fee $750 or $1,500.

        The Employer and Employee

        • Premium Processing Fee (Optional) $2,500
        • Attorney Fee (Optional) No specific amount (varies).

        H-1B Visa Cap

        The number of H-1B visas issued in each fiscal year is capped at 65,000. But the applicants exempted from this are the additional first 20,000 petitions filed for applicants with master’s degree or higher.

        Additionally, the H-1B applicants exempted from this yearly cap include workers employed at a nonprofit research organisation connected to an institute of higher education, institute of higher education, nonprofit research organisation or government research organisation.

        Our team of experienced immigration advisors is here to ensure a smooth and hassle-free application experience. Contact Us

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          H-1B Visa Alternatives

          If the H-1B visa cap has been reached or you didn’t qualify for the visa, there are alternative visas you could apply to enter the U.S. They include:

          L1 Intracompany Transferee Visa 

          The L1 visa is intended for experienced senior or highly skilled knowledge workers who will fill a similar position in the United States. The L1 visa is of two types and they are the L1A and L1B visas.

          Employees of multinational corporations seeking employment in an affiliated office in the U.S. in an executive or managing role should apply for an L1A visa. While intracompany transferees with specific expertise of their employer’s organisation are eligible for an L1B visa.

          The L1 visa enables a multinational firm to move senior or specialised knowledge personnel to one of the company’s U.S. offices, provided the individual has worked for a relevant organisation abroad for a continuous year during the three years immediately preceding their entrance to the US.

          This category also permits a foreign company that doesn’t already have a U.S. office to send a manager, executive, or employee with expertise to the country in order to open one.

          The process you’ll go through in order to get the L1 visa is way much easier than that of the H-1B visa. Some employers can also create the needed intracompany relationship in advance for USCIS approval by submitting a blanket petition.

          However, an employee’s L1 visa is not guaranteed by the approval of a blanket L1 petition, it gives the employer the freedom to swiftly move qualified workers to the U.S. without having to submit a separate L1A or L1B petition to USCIS each time.

          You will be allowed a maximum initial stay of 3 years with the L1A visa. However, you will have a maximum limit of 7 years through 2 years increments on request for extensions of stay if granted.

          This scenario also applies to L1B visa holders but with a maximum 5 years length of stay. The L1 visas are dual intent just like the H1B visa which lets the visa holder to apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.

          O-1 Extraordinary Ability or Achievement Visa 

          Foreign nationals who have extraordinary achievement or ability may qualify for the O1 work visa. The O1 visa is one of the renowned U.S. nonimmigrant visas because of the various benefits it has when compared to that of other nonimmigrant visa categories.

          The O1 visa is meant for people who have extraordinary achievement or ability in their specialized field and they are of two types and they are the O1A and the O1B visas.

          O1A visa is for individuals who have extraordinary ability in education, sciences, athletics or business excluding arts, motion picture and television industry. While the O1B visa is for people who have a history record of exceptional achievement in the arts, motion picture and television industry.

          Therefore, by definition, only a small number of foreign nationals will be eligible for either of these visa types. An O1A visa candidate, for instance, must be able to demonstrate continued national or international acclaim as one of the extremely small number of people who have attained the pinnacle of their industry.

          Although the precise tasks to be carried out in any given post may not always necessitate someone of such outstanding skill or achievement, all O1 individuals must also be traveling temporarily to the U.S. to work in their profession.

          If you’re granted an O1 visa, you may come to the United States and work for up to 3 years in your field of expertise. As an O1 visa holder, you may also be able to extend your stay in increments of up to 1 year at a time, with no cap on how many times you can extend.

          The O1 visas share the same dual intent as the H1B visa. You will be able to do this and maintain your nonimmigrant status while also making an attempt to change your status to one of a permanent resident. In essence, this means that O1 nonimmigrants who are temporarily employed in the U.S. may apply for a green card.

          There are also more benefits that come with the O1 visa than the H-1B visa. There is:

          • No cap of visa to be given to applicants per fiscal year.
          • No prevailing wage requirements and your U.S. sponsor is not required to submit an LCA with the U.S. Department of Labor.

          Optional Practical Training

          The OPT is a work authorization that lasts for 12 months. International F1 students who have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if they intend to find employment in the United States in their primary field of study.

          As part of the F1 student visa, OPT basically lets U.S. college graduates from outside the U.S. to work for a year in their chosen field while undergoing practical training. Before or after finishing their academic work, eligible students can apply to get up to 12 months of OPT job authorization.

          Additionally, if the company participates in the E-Verify online employment verification programme and the graduate is employed in specified Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles, this can be extended by 24 months.

          E1 and E2 Visa (Treaty Trader and Investor Visas)

          The Treaty Trader and Investor visas E1 and E2 are nonimmigrant visas for citizens of countries with which the U.S. uses to hold a treaty of navigation, commerce or other international agreements.

          For an E1 visa, a citizen of a treaty country has to be coming to the U.S. only to engage in qualifying activities of a substantial nature, primarily between the U.S. and the treaty country. They may also choose to work in the treaty trader’s U.S. business in an executive or supervisory capacity, or as an employee who is exceptionally skilled.

          For an E2 visa, the applicant must be coming to the U.S. primarily to establish and oversee the operations of an already existing or newly created U.S. business in which they have made substantial capital investments or are actively considering making such investments using legally acquired funds.

          Also, an employee whose skills are crucial to the business’s operation or a senior employee of the treaty investor may also qualify for an E2 visa.

          Despite a number of rigorous requirements, the E1 and E2 visas are popular among foreign business owners and their personnel. You must also meet a significant trade or investment requirement in addition to the nationality requirement, which states that you must be a citizen of a qualifying treaty country.

          For the E1 category, there has to be so many transactions between the United States and the treaty country for a while. However, there are no minimum requirements regarding the volume of each transaction or the monetary value involved.

          Likewise, there is no fixed capital limit when considering in the E2 category context substantially. Nevertheless, the investment should be substantial in a proportional sense to guarantee the US business’s successful operation and expansion.

          Therefore, depending on the type of business, different amounts of capital may be needed for investments, with more capital intensive businesses requiring more substantial investments.

          If an E1 or E2 visa is granted, the applicant may work in the US for a maximum of two years. As long as the business is still operating and the visa holder is still actively involved, these visas may be renewed an infinite number of times in increments of up to 2 years each. Additionally, they need to keep in mind that they’ll be leaving after their stay is over.

          H-1B Visa and Green Card

          You may obtain permanent residence and stay in the United States as long as you wish if you apply for a green card while you’re still on your H-1B visa.

          An H1B holder can become a legal permanent resident in a number of ways. The most typical method is to submit an application for a work-based green card. The EB1, EB2, and EB3 visas are included, and every one of these green card categories has its own set of qualifications and application process.

          However, they are all generally petition based categories. Your application must be sponsored by a potential employer. But if you meet the requirements for the EB-1 visa’s Extraordinary Ability subcategory, you can self petition for a green card.

          Additionally, if you are related to a U.S. citizen or someone who has a green card, you may apply for a family-based green card with their sponsorship.

          You will change your status and become a permanent resident if your green card application is accepted before the H-1B visa expiration date. However, you could need to leave the country while waiting for your green card to be authorized if your H-1B visa will expire before your application for permanent residence is accepted.

          After spending a year outside the U.S., you can reapply for an H-1B visa or a different nonimmigrant work visa. The application process for a green card might sometimes take many years. You can come back to the United States while waiting for the green card to be approved by obtaining another nonimmigrant visa.

          How Can IAS Help?

          The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to bring foreign workers with specialized skills to the U.S. As a foreign national, the processes involved in bringing you to the U.S. on H-1B visa require great attention to detail.

          You need to meet the eligibility criteria of the H-1B visa and indeed possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and also have exceptional skills in your field of study.

          Additionally, there are some documents you need to bring to your visa interview. You also need to make required payments at several stages of your H-1B visa application process.

          This is why you need expert guidance from our immigration advisers at IAS to guide you throughout your visa application process. We are experienced in handling H-1B visa applications for many Nigerians.

          We can also help you prepare for your visa interview by giving you tips on the expected interview questions and how to answer them.

          For more information about H-1B visa for Nigerians, H-1B visa status, our services or any other immigration related questions, get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers at IAS. Call us on +23413438882 or on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    A Green Card, which can be renewed every 10 years and grants permanent resident status, allows one to live and work in the U.S. as opposed to an H-1B visa. Additionally, it will allow its possessor to pursue US citizenship, a benefit no existing visa allows.

                    The spouse visa for an H-1B visa holder is the H-4 visa. The H-4 visa allows spouses and their unmarried under 21 years old children to join their partner in the United States for the same validity period of their partner’s H-1B visa.

                    When your H-1B visa expires, you are no longer eligible for another 6 years of H-1B status until you have lived and been physically present outside the United States for 1 year. At that point, your eligibility for a new 6 year period of H-1B status resumes.

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