The H-1B2 visa is intended for individuals who would like to enter the United States temporarily by working within a research or development group/project that is monitored by the United States Department of Defense (DOD). A participant is selected for this visa if they have an extraordinary skill that can be translated to a specific Department of Defense project. For that reason, only 100 H-1B2 visas are made available in the United States which makes competition high.
The H-1B2 Visa Position Qualifications
You must meet at least one of these requirements to qualify for an H-1B2 visa:
- The group/project is maintained under a government-to-government agreement issued by the United States Department of Defense.
- The position mandates a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university or college. If you received your degree or education in the U.S. then you should have no problem meeting this eligibility requirement.
- On the other hand, if you received your education in another country, you might need to get a credential evaluation. This essentially confirms that your degree or education is equivalent to that of a U.S. based institution. Upon a thorough evaluation, you’ll receive a report as proof of equivalency.
- If you have a specialty occupation, you must have a license, certificate, or registration issued by the state you will be working in that allows you to practice your specialized trade. Examples of this could include engineering, architecture, law, or medicine.
- You must have the experience or training necessary to perform the specialty position. This can be either in education that equals a bachelor’s degree or work experience with increasing responsibility.
The H-1B2 Visa Candidate Requirements
One of the following must be completed:
U.S. education certification of a bachelor’s degree or higher within the field of the indicated position.
Obtain an equivalent foreign degree that demonstrates the candidate has received a bachelor’s degree or higher within the field of work.
Possess a state license, certification, or registration which allows the applicant to be fully qualified and certified for the position.
The applicant has fully completed education, training, or work experience that is equivalent to the bachelor’s degree. The candidate must have recognition and accomplishments within the indicated field.
H-1B2 Visa Application Process
The application process for an H-1B2 visa is similar in many respects to that of the H-1B visa. Before the individual can receive H-1B2 status, the applicant is required to have been offered a qualified position. The applicant is also expected to have accepted that position.
The applicant can apply for the H-1B2 status six months before the employer petitions on his/her behalf. This is the earliest time available. The United States employer is obligated to submit a Petition for Non-immigrant Worker (Form I-129). The petition should be filed to the designated USCIS service center.
H-1B2 Processing Time
Your I-129 petition will take an average of six months to be processed by the USCIS, though this heavily depends on the caseload of that particular service center. To expedite this process, you can opt for the premium processing service, an optional feature that allows you to shorten your petition’s processing time down to 15 calendar days for an additional fee. Keep in mind, however, that premium processing will not increase your chances of being approved.
Once your I-129 is approved, you will have two options:
- If you are already in the U.S. under a different nonimmigrant status (such as an F-1 visa), your status will automatically change as soon as you start working as an H-1B2 nonimmigrant.
- If you are outside the U.S., you will likely need to go through consular processing. This means that you must travel to the designated U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country to participate in an interview with a consular officer. The officer will ask you questions about you, your background, your employment, and your plans in the U.S. Answer each question fully and honestly, saying “I don’t know” is better than making up answers. Consular processing can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the Consulate or Embassy.
H-1B2 Visa Cost
The mandatory fees associated with the H-1B2 are as follows:
- I-129 basic filing fee – $460
- If you are going through consular processing, you will need to complete the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application, which will come with a $190 fee and could also include a biometrics fee of $85.
Other optional costs include:
- Premium processing fee – $1,440
- Travel costs
- Attorney fees – these vary widely. You can see our flat rate on our fees page.
It is important to note that the I-129 filing fee is the responsibility of your employer. You, the beneficiary, are not permitted to pay this fee by law. As for the premium processing fee, that can be paid either by you or your employer. If you decide to pay this fee, you must explain that it was on your own volition.
Supplementary Documentation Required with Petition
Like with almost any immigration petition, the form by itself will hardly convince the immigration officer. You must include evidence that backs up what is written in your petition. In addition to the below items, you should also enclose a copy of your licenses or certificates, your resume, and a copy of your passport.
Detailed description of position and proof that it requires extraordinary competency or skill
Evidence that the position qualifies under all requirements and meets H-1B2 conditions
A list with all the temporary immigrants who were hired to complete the project within the last year. Dates of employment are necessary for a petition.
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Speak with your immigration attorney to find out exactly what should be included in your H-1B2 petition.
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) is not required for the H-1B2 visa. If the individual is not in the United States when the I-129 form is authorized, the individual is able to file an application with a U.S. embassy or consulate for an H-1B visa. If the applicant is entering the United States on an H-1B classification, he/she must then apply to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for entry into the United States.
H-1B2 Visa Length of Stay
The H-1B2 holder may work in the United States for 10 years, but there are possibilities for extensions. Extensions would be granted in two-year intervals. If applying for an extension, the applications should be attached with a letter from the project manager of the Department of Defense and adhere to these requirements. The H-1B2 visa has a cap of 100 visas issued annually. A “cap” indicates that Congress has put a numerical limitation on the number of specific workers allowed to enter into the United States.
*It’s necessary to note that changing your status from a previous immigration status like L-1, F-1 or J-1, counts towards the cap. Here’s more information relating to the H1B Cap.
IF YOU ARE A QUALIFIED H-1B2 VISA HOLDER:
Applicants with an H-1B2 status may be interested to adjust their status to an H-1B, however, the duration of stay on the H-1B2 visa does count towards the time given on the H-1B visa.
Difference Between H-1B2 and H-1B3
Their names may sound alike but these are altogether different visas. The H-1B3 visa is for aliens who are internationally recognized fashion models to come work in the U.S.; not to be confused with the H-1B2 which is for individuals conducting research or a project monitored by the Department of Defense (DOD).
In sum, an H-1B2 visa has a number of qualifications and eligibility requirements that must be met. Only 100 are granted in the United States at any given point in time so it’s imperative to contact an immigration attorney sooner, rather than later. Also, keep the aforementioned points in mind including the documentation required with the petition, duration of stay, and application process.
How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help
No matter which visa or green card you’re interested in, it’s important to have an expert guide you on your immigration journey. The complexity and detailed requirements for the H-1B2 make getting help all the more necessary.
At SGM Law Group, we specialize in employment-based immigration. Our dedicated team of lawyers has helped countless people like yourself live and work in the U.S. through the H-1B2 visa. From helping you define a specialized job and filing your petition to dealing with obstacles such as RFEs, we’re here to help.
To get in touch with one of our immigration attorneys, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation today.