Overview on H1B1s for Citizens of Chile and Singapore

The annual cap on the H1B category, combined with tremendous demand, has forced many employers and foreign national professionals to seek out reasonable alternatives. One such option for citizens of Chile or Singapore is the H1B1 visa category. This nonimmigrant category is very similar to the H1B category and is also subject to an annual cap. But, because it is not heavily used, the H1B1 category is typically available year round.

Background on H1B1

The H1B1 category was created by the free trade agreements signed by the United States with Chile and Singapore in 2003. There are 6,800 H1B1 numbers available each fiscal year to citizens of these two countries. These numbers are deducted from the H1B annual limit of 65,000, which is available worldwide each year.

Requirements for a Grant of H1B1 Status

The requirements for the H1B1 are more or less identical to those of the H1B, with a few key differences:

  • There is no requirement that a petition first be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Rather, a U.S. employer may sponsor a Chilean or Singaporean citizen to apply for an H1B1 visa directly at a U.S. consulate or embassy. If the beneficiary is already in the United States, however, a petition may be filed with the USCIS to change status to H1B1, or to extend the person’s H1B1 status.
  • H1B1 status generally is granted in one-year increments, and may be extended indefinitely; there is no six-year limitation.
  • Even if one does not possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, it may still be possible to qualify for H1B1 classification in certain situations. More specifically, a Chilean citizen who is offered employment as an agricultural manager or physical therapist does not need to have the equivalent of a 4-year degree. Similarly, a Singaporean or Chilean citizen who is offered employment as a disaster relief claims adjuster or management consultant is not required to possess a degree.
  • The spouse and minor children of an H1B1 employee are authorized to live in the United States in H-4 status, and to study, but are not permitted to work.
  • Unlike H1B and L-1 status, H1B1 status is not considered dual intent. Therefore, one in H1B1 status must demonstrate the intent to return to her/his home country following the completion of the H1B1 work assignment. However, the U.S. Department of State has made it clear that a future intent to immigrate to the United States should not, in and of itself, be a reason for denial of H1B1 status.

Conclusion

For citizens of Chile and Singapore, the H1B1 category provides tremendous flexibility when exploring options for working in the United States. Those with questions about applying for the H1B1 visa are encouraged to schedule a consultation with a Murthy Law Firm attorney.

 

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.