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The H-1B visa class is a viable option for primary, secondary or college teachers with the required knowledge and training, especially during times of national teacher shortages. H-1B visa offers foreign professionals the ability to work temporarily in the United States as long as they hold specialty occupations. For an H-1B visa for teachers, the exact requirements and eligibility conditions are noted below.
Based on the requirements outlined by the USCIS, in order to qualify the teacher must meet these conditions:
Learn how to Get H-1B Without a Degree.
The regular H-1B cap is broken down by the regular quota, masters degree quota and other (citizens of Singapore and Chile). However, some employers are capable of filing cap-exempt petitions. These include:
In certain scenarios, however, a school district may qualify as a nonprofit entity and be permitted to file a cap-exempt petition for an H-1B for teachers.
The following points are most useful for school district administrators who are interested in filing an H-1B petition for teachers. To demonstrate that you are qualified to file a cap-exempt petition for a teacher not holding H-1B status in the last six years, the USCIS requires the following:
Individuals in the United States that were already counted against the cap in the previous six years may perform a variety of actions since they are exempt from the cap. The USCIS may process petitions seeking amendments, a change of employer or an extension.
The H1B beneficiary will need to provide their name, birthdate, home country, passport number, gender and educational information (if applicable).
If you don’t fall under the cap-exempt section, then if you are selected in the H-1B lottery, the next step would be for the employer to file a complete petition. This moves the process along to the adjudication stage. Hopefully, USCIS will approve the petition and then you will be able to start working beginning October 1st.
Oftentimes, a teacher with H-1B status will wish to transfer to another school district which requires a transfer petition to be filed. In order for this to occur a few requirements must be fulfilled:
H-1B for teachers may vary greatly from one school district to another. We recommend scheduling a consultation with an immigration attorney to ensure you receive the most relevant advice.
You may be wondering if a public school district is considered H-1B cap-exempt. Some are, but you will need to provide evidence that “the nonprofit entity (public school district) has entered into a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education that establishes an active working relationship between the nonprofit entity and the institution of higher education for the purposes of research or education, and a fundamental activity of the nonprofit entity is to directly contribute to the research or education mission of the institution of higher education;” This is taken directly from the This regulation was published in the Federal Register/Vol. 81, No. 223/Friday, November 18, 2016/Rules and Regulations.
To demonstrate the affiliation with the program for the purpose of the H-1B petition have a copy of the affiliation agreement/Memoradum of Understanding (MOU) that is signed by both the school district official and affiliated nonprofit institution. Also have evidence showing the working relationship between both parties (i.e., related to research or education/nonprofit activity, etc.) Furthermore, you will need proof that the school district has not-for-profit status. “Dual Enrollment Agreements between districts and a college or university, under which students may obtain college and high school credit for taking specific courses, typically meet the affiliation agreement requirement.”
By law, the single sponsor can only file one registration for any one beneficiary but they are permitted to file more than one registration for multiple beneficiaries, and one beneficiary can have registrations for more than one sponsor.
For example, Margaret is being sponsored by Company RexCo. If this company files four petitions in an attempt to help her chances, all of them will be denied because this is not permitted. However, Margaret can have more than one company file to sponsor her, and they will not automatically get denied in this case.
The period of stay on H-1B for teachers is the same length of time that other H-1B visa holders have. The initial period is three years and that can be extended an additional three years for a total of six years. Although it is sometimes possible to obtain further extensions in one-year increments in some cases.
What’s more, spouses and children may be eligible for H-4 status which makes them eligible for other benefits including:
These are some of the benefits available to H-4 status holders. To learn how an H-1B for teachers may affect your family members, consult an immigration professional.
Regular H-1B Cap
The annual cap for teachers and other H-1B status seekers is as follows (with the exception of those who are cap exempt):
The fees associated with obtaining an H-1B visa for teachers are as follows:
It is important to note that these fees must be paid by the employer (by law). The ACWIA, Anti-Fraud, and Public Law fees are all one-time fees paid per employer per beneficiary. This means that these fees are not required for H-1B extensions or renewals, but will be required if you switch to a new employer. The basic filing fee is always applicable whenever an I-129 petition is filed.
You will be responsible for all of the costs associated with obtaining your H-1B visa for teachers at a U.S. consulate or embassy if you are currently outside the U.S. These include:
Just like for any other H-1B visa option, the USCIS typically extends a premium processing service to teachers who wish to work on H-1B status. This service will shorten the usual processing time from up to six or seven months to just 15 calendar days for a fee of $2,500. This feature does not guarantee you a position in the H-1B lottery nor does it change the earliest start date for your employment (October 1st)
However, there have been times when the USCIS has suspended the premium processing service for H-1B visas. This was done in 2015 and has happened again in 2017.
This is not something to panic about because it is not an automatic denial. The request for evidence is USCIS basically saying they need more information from you before they can make a concrete decision on your case. We highly recommend you work with a qualified immigration expert in order to not risk making a mistake and having your case rejected.
Let’s recap what we’ve explored thus far regarding H-1B for teachers. There are two main instances in which an H-1B petition may be subject to the cap. The first is that the petitioner has already been subject to the cap in the previous six years.
In that case, the USCIS may process the amendment, change of employer or amendment without it counting towards the cap a second time. The second scenario is an individual who was granted H-1B status in the last six years but is currently living outside the United States. They have the option to reclaim the remaining time they have.
If you are not cap-exempt, then you initially have a three-year period of stay once your petition is approved with the option to extend it for an additional three years for a total of six years. It’s crucial to get started filing the paperwork right away if you’re a new petitioner because the USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions in April. Also, don’t delay the process if you are seeking a less involved request because delays may arise.
VisaNation Law Group’s H-1B attorneys have extensive experience filing H-1B petitions for new clients and explaining the complete details of H-1B for teachers.
They can help you determine whether or not you qualify for the cap exemptions and other benefits as well. If you do not qualify for an H1B or are not selected, you may want to discuss alternative visa options like the J1 visa teacher program which allows foreign teachers to teach in an accredited school for up to three years.
Since cases do vary so significantly, it’s advised to contact VisaNation Law Group today with your specific circumstances to get started.