H-1B1 Nonimmigrant Visa

The Free Trade Agreements created the H-1B1 category. The H-1B1 program allows employers to temporarily employ foreign nationals from Chile and Singapore on a nonimmigrant basis in a specialty occupation. Like the H-1B visa, a specialty occupation is an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as minimum entry into the occupation in the United States.

The annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued an H-1B1 visa is 6,800 with 1,400 from Chile and 5,400 from Singapore. The 6,800 visas set aside for H-1B1 workers is deducted from the 65,000 limits for H-1Bs. The period of employment is one year. Extensions may be obtained in one-year increments. Also like H-1B visas, a labor certification application (LCA) is required to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unlike the H-1B visa and L-1 visa, the H-1B1 visa is not a dual-intent visa. This means that the H-1B1 visa holder cannot apply for permanent residence in the United States (also known as the green card). The foreign worker must show that he/she does not intend to make the U.S. his/her permanent residence.

Additionally, the H-1B1 visa can be applied for at a U.S. consulate if the Chilean or Singaporean national is outside the U.S. and a petition can be filed with USCIS if the Chilean or Singaporean national is inside the U.S. by filing an Form I-129 to change his/her status to H-1B1.