H-1B Visa For Teachers: Sponsorship & Schools in 2024

Must-Know Facts

  • BREAKING NEWS: USCIS has announced that they reached the FY 2025 H-1B numerical allocations, including the master’s cap. Petitioners have until June 30, 2024, to file the H-1B cap petitions for selected individuals.

The H-1B visa category can be a potential option for primary, secondary, or college teachers who possess the necessary knowledge and training, particularly during periods of national teacher shortages. It is designed to allow foreign professionals to work temporarily in the United States, provided they hold specialty occupations.

Important Update

USCIS has announced that they have finished the selection process for H-1B cap registrations for the Fiscal Year 2025. Those who have received a selection notice are advised to contact our office sooner rather than later. Their employers can download the official selection notice, which contains essential details advising both beneficiaries and employers to ensure the timely submission of a fully prepared H-1B petition. The complete H-1B application can be submitted online or by mailing the filing to USCIS between April 1, 2024, through June 30, 2024, which is the deadline for submission.

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If You Received an H-1B Selection Notice

The first step is to contact our office so we can begin your complete H-1B filing! When preparing your H-1B petition, we will ensure that a copy of the official selection notice is included, per USCIS requirements. It’s also important to note that only the employer listed on the notice is authorized to file the petition on behalf of the beneficiary. Also, the Beneficiary’s passport or travel document used in Registration should be included in the H-1B petition. Any discrepancy or variance must be explained in the H-1B filing such a company legal name change or renewal of the passport or travel document.

In the video below, managing attorney Shilpa Malik explains how teachers on H-1B status differ from other H-1B holders. If you’re unsure if you qualify under the H-1B or are H-1B cap exempt it’s best to schedule a consultation with our team.

What is the H-1B Visa for Teachers?

The H-1B visa for teachers is a non-immigrant visa in the U.S. that allows schools to employ foreign teachers in specialty occupations. To qualify, the teaching position must require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, and the teacher must meet these educational requirements. A U.S. school must sponsor the teacher and file a petition, including a Labor Condition Application, ensuring that the teacher will be paid the prevailing wage and that their employment won’t negatively affect U.S. workers. The H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap and a competitive lottery system, with an initial duration of up to three years, extendable to a maximum of six years.

H-1B visa for teachers explained infographic

H-1B Requirements for Teachers

Based on the requirements outlined by the USCIS, in order to qualify the teacher must meet these conditions:

  • Educational Qualifications: The teacher must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher relevant to the teaching position. The level of the degree required can vary depending on the educational level they will be teaching. For instance, a primary school teacher might not need the same level of education as a college or university professor.
  • Foreign Degree Evaluation: If the degree is obtained from a non-U.S. institution, it must be equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Typically, three years of relevant professional experience is considered equivalent to one year of collegiate education. This means, for example, that 12 years of relevant experience could equate to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. However, this equivalence often needs to be formally evaluated and certified.
  • Professional Licensing: The teacher must possess any required licenses or permissions to work in that specific educational sector in the U.S. If the foreign worker does not have the license before arriving in the country, they must be able to demonstrate that they meet all conditions for obtaining such licensing.
  • Labor Condition Application (LCA): The educational institution or employer sponsoring the H-1B visa must submit an LCA to the Department of Labor. This application ensures that the foreign teacher will be paid at least the same wage as domestic workers with similar qualifications and experience, or the prevailing wage for the position in the geographical area. The LCA also serves to confirm that employing the foreign teacher will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Learn how to Get H-1B Without a Degree.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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Schools that Sponsor H-1B Visas for Teachers

When it comes to sponsoring H-1B visas for teachers, schools in the U.S. can be categorized based on their exemption status from the H-1B visa cap. This distinction plays a significant role in how schools can hire foreign teachers and navigate the complex immigration system.

Cap-Exempt Schools for H-1B Teachers

Certain schools are exempt from the regular H-1B cap, which includes quotas for the regular, master’s degree, and specific nationalities like citizens of Singapore and Chile. The institutions that typically fall under this category include:

  • Institutes of higher education
  • Governmental research centers
  • Nonprofit entities affiliated with institutes of higher education or governmental research centers

In some cases, a school district can qualify as a nonprofit entity and be permitted to file a cap-exempt petition for an H-1B visa for teachers. For a school district to demonstrate eligibility for this exemption, it needs to meet specific criteria:

  • Be a not-for-profit organization
  • Have received approval under the numerical cap exemption since 2006
  • Must have an Affiliation Agreement with a university, submitted along with the I-797 Approval notice from a previous cap-exempt petition when filing a new H-1B petition

Additionally, public school districts may be considered cap-exempt if they provide evidence of a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education. This agreement should establish an active working relationship for the purposes of research or education. Documents like a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and evidence of nonprofit status and working relationships are essential.

Cap-Subject Schools for H-1B Teachers

Schools not meeting the above criteria for cap exemption are subject to the H-1B cap. This means they must adhere to the annual limit set for H-1B visas and participate in the lottery system. The process is more competitive, and timing is crucial as the cap is quickly reached. For these schools, the process involves:

  • Filing during the designated application period
  • Participating in the H-1B lottery
  • Adhering to standard H-1B requirements if selected in the lottery

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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US School Districts Sponsoring H-1B Visas

Several U.S. school districts are actively sponsoring H-1B visas for teachers, especially in response to the ongoing teacher shortages and the need for educators with specific skills and qualifications. For instance:

  1. Dallas Independent School District
  2. Camden City School District
  3. Houston Independent School District
  4. Wake County Public School System
  5. Seattle Public Schools
  6. District of Columbia Public Schools
  7. San Francisco Unified School District
  8. New York City Department of Education
  9. Boston Public Schools
  10. Fairfax County Public Schools
  11. Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  12. Montgomery County Public Schools
  13. Los Angeles Unified School District
  14. Chicago Public Schools
  15. Orange Unified School District

Map of US School Districts Sponsoring H-1B Visas

Documents Required for All H-1B Registration

  • Employer’s name
  • Employer’s FEIN identification number
  • Business address
  • Company’s contact information
  • Employer’s lawyer contact information

The H-1B 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.

Learn all about H-1B visa stamping in the U.S.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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H-1B for Teachers: Transfer Districts

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:

  • The teacher on H-1B status who is desiring the transfer must have filed as cap-exempt through the University Affiliation at some point in the past. How can you prove this?
    • The best way to submit proof of this is by providing Form I-129.
  • The other way in which a teacher on H-1B status may transfer to a different district is by transitioning to a district that has been deemed exempt from the annual quota/cap. The requirements of such are noted above.

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.

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H-1B for Teachers: Period of Stay

The H-1B visa for teachers allows an initial stay of 3 years, extendable by another 2 years, totaling 6 years. Further extensions in one-year increments are possible in certain situations. Spouses and children of H-1B holders may qualify for H-4 status, granting them benefits like Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), the option to attend school, potential resident tuition fees, and status change flexibility. For specific impacts on family members and further advice, consulting an immigration professional is recommended.

H-1B Fees for Teachers

The H-1B Visa fees for teachers include various charges. The registration fee is $10 but will be increased to $215 after April 1, 2024. Basic filing fees are set at $780 for larger companies and $460 for smaller employers and nonprofits. The ACWIA Training Fee ranges from $750 to $1,500. A Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $500 is required, and companies with more than 50 employees, where over half are on H-1B or L-1 status, must pay a Public Law 114-113 Fee of $4,000. The Asylum Program Fee is $600 for employers with 26 or more full-time employees, $300 for smaller employers (25 or fewer employees), and waived for nonprofits. Premium Processing costs $2,805, and attorney fees vary.

Premium Processing

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 $2,805. 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.

Can a sponsor file more than one registration for one beneficiary?

By law, the single sponsor can only file one registration for any one beneficiary, and one beneficiary cannot have another registration 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.

How VisaNation Law Group’s H-1B Attorneys Can Help

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.

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