H-1B for Teachers

A teacher explains a mathematics problem on a whiteboard with books and papers on the table in front of themThe H-1B visa is a great option for teachers and professors, regardless if for Elementary School, Middle School, High School or College / University. The H-1B visa is attractive to highly skilled and experienced professionals.

In order to qualify for H-1B Visa for Teachers in the US, the teacher and professor must meet these conditions:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher for entry into the teaching position at the institution. However, a K-12 teacher, for example, may not need the same level of education as a college / university professor.
  • For foreign degrees, the degree must be the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
  • The teacher or professor possesses any required licenses or permissions to work within that educational sector.

What is the H-1B Cap Exemption Requirement?

The regular H-1B cap or cap-subject is best described as a lottery. Not many people want to play the lottery when a needed employee is on the line. However, the lottery does have an exemption. Some employers are capable of filing cap-exempt petitions. These exemption H-1B Filings include:

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

A University or College easily meet the definition of “higher education.” However, a school district may qualify as a nonprofit entity and be permitted to file a cap-exempt petition for an H1B visa for teachers. More Information can be found here.

H-1B for Teachers: Transfer Districts or Schools

Often times, a teacher with H-1B status will wish to transfer to another school district which requires a H-1B transfer petition to be filed. In order for this to occur, a few requirements must be fulfilled:

  • If the teacher on H-1B status received the H-1B as cap-exempt through the University Affiliation, the new H-1B Sponsor for the teacher (the School, school district, or University the H-1B Teacher will be transferring to) must qualify as a cap exempt institution; or
  • If the teacher received a cap-subject H-1B, the new H-1B sponsoring school can be either cap-exempt or cap-subject employer, but the new position must have similar job duties and requirements as the previous job.

H-1B transfer for teachers can be complicated. We recommend scheduling a consultation with an immigration attorney.

H1B Visa for Teachers: Period of Stay

The period of stay on H1B for teachers is up to six years. The initial period for H-1B visa is three years and that can be extended an additional three years for a total of six years.

What is the Regular H-1B Cap?

When an H1B employer does not qualify as a Cap-exempt Institute, they would be subject to the following:

  • 65,000 H-1B Visas issued each fiscal year
  • 20,000 H-1B Visas reserved for those with a masters degree
  • 6,800 H-1B Visas are put aside for Singapore and Chile citizens (H1B1)

H-1B Visa Fees for Teachers

The H-1B Visa Filing Fees as follows:

  • $460 – Basic filing fee
  • $500 – Fraud Prevention and Detection fee
  • $1410 – Premium Processing fee
  • $370 – H-4 application for spouse/children of H-1B holder if already in the U.S.
  • $190 – DS-160 if the H-1B Holder is outside of the Country
  • $190 – DS-160 for any Family Members entering the U.S. on the H-4 Visa
  • Travel Costs if the H-1B Holder and family is outside of the Country
  • $85 – if a Biometric Fee is requested by USCIS to perform a background check

Note: It is important to note that the legal fee, basic filing fee and the Fraud Prevention fee MUST be paid by your employer by law. The Fraud Prevention fee is a one-time fee paid per employer per beneficiary. The basic filing fee is always applicable whenever an I-129 petition is filed.

What is the H-1B Premium Processing?

The Premium Processing service will shorten the usual processing time from six or seven months to 15 business days. The Premium Processing fee is $1,410.

This feature is unrelated to the H-1B Cap lottery, nor does it change the earliest start date for your employment before October 1st for H-1B Cap-Subject visas.

The Premium Processing does not mean USCIS will approve the H-1B visa application in 15 business days. It only means that the agency will respond to the application, and in reality, may increase the chances of Request for Evidence (RFE) for H-1B filing. RFE may increase the overall processing time for your case because the Firm have to provide additional evidence and write a response to the requests from USCIS. Therefore, we suggest you to begin the H-1B filing early so that you may acquire your H-1B visa before the school year starts.