The H1B1 visa is quite similar in name as well as the functionality to the H-1B visa. The H1B1 visa is known as the visa for persons in speciality occupations. This visa came into existence because of two agreements between United States – Singapore and Unite States – Chile. They are termed as U.S. – Singapore Free Trade Agreement and U.S. – Chile Free Trade Agreement. These treaties allow Singaporean and Chilean citizens to come to United States on a nonimmigrant visa.
The Free Trade Agreement between United States and Singapore came into effect on the 1st of Janurary, 2004. The biggest advantage of this visa named ‘H1B1’ is that it helps a whole new class of Singaporean citizens to obtain a non-immigrant visa to enter United States for the purpose of employment.
The biggest difference between an H-1B visa and H1B1 visa is that in case of the former the individual does have the option to file for immigration while working in the United States, whereas in case of H1B1 visa, the period of stay in the United States is temporary and the individual has not privilege to file for immigration.
In order to be eligible to apply for a H1B1 visa, an individual must satisfy the following criteria:
- The H1B1 visa requires that the applicant be a Singaporean citizen. Permanent residents of Singapore who are citizens of other countries are not eligible to obtain this visa.
- The applicant must possess a 4 year post-secondary degree in his/her field of specialization.
- The applicant must be able to produce evidence(s) that his/her period of stay in the United States is temporary, only for the purpose of employment.
- The employment in the United States doesn’t include self-employment or independent contracts.
- The domain of employment must be a speciality occupation. It is necessary that the individual possesses great deal of knowledge in a field of specialization. The field of speciality occupations includes biotechnology, health care, mathematics, engineering, etc.
Speciality Occupations for H1-B1 Visas
The H1B1 visa requires that its applicants possess either a bachelors degree which must be at least 4 years duration and theoretical and practical knowledge of a certain branch of knowledge. Leaving aside the exceptions, medicine, health, engineering, social sciences, mathematics, architecture are some of the speciality occupations. The few exceptions in speciality occupations have been mentioned below:
- Those who are into business and do not hold baccalaureate or equivalent degrees may hold jobs in the capacity of Agricultural Managers or Physical Therapists (Applicants from Chile) and Disaster Relief Claim Adjusters (Applicants from Chile and Singapore).
- At times, it is the U.S. companies who contribute in qualified foreign professionals from Singapore and Chile for getting a job that may require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree and certain other skills.
- Those who may hold a baccalaureate degree in a different speciality area (may be management consultants) and are foreign nationals from Singapore and Chile.
- The image must be square shaped, that is having equal dimensions (width and height).
- The image must be in the JPEG format, with minimum acceptable dimensions as 600 X 600 and maximum acceptable dimensions as 1200 X 1200.
- The maximum size of the photograph can be a maximum up to 240 KB and it must be in color.
- The image must contain full shoulders, neck, and face of the visa applicant.
- The head size should be between 50-69% of the total height of the image.
- The photograph must be the front view of the applicant.
- The head must not be covered with any clothes, except if it is covered for religious purposes.
- Eyeglass can be used in the photograph, however, they must not be tinted. Applicant must not wear sunglasses or any other objects which can hide any portion of the face.
On the Part of the Employer
- An offer of employment extended to the foreign individual
- A photocopy of the LCA certificate of the individual
On the Part of the Applicant
- A valid passport with the expiry date at least 6 months beyond the period of stay in the United States
- In case the applicant is between 16-45 years of age, he/she will need to fill out a form DS-157
- Evidence that he/she will return to country of citizenship after the temporary stay in the United States
- Getting Hired by U.S. Employer
The H1B1 visa is similar to the H1-B visa in which the applicant must have a job offer with a U.S. employer. The employer provides an employment opportunity and sponsorship to the individual to come and work for him in the United States. Once the sponsorship is obtained from a U.S. employer, a prevailing wage needs to be obtained and a LCA certificate needs to be filed. The LCA certificate stands for the Labor Condition Application. The LCA form is to be submitted online through the DOLS iCERT Portal System. Note that unlike H1-B visa, no petition is needed to be filed in case of the H1B1 visa.
- Filling the Form-156
Once the applicant receives LCA certification from the Labor department, he/she can go about filing the form 156 online. It is important that the individual furnishes the correct information at the time of filling the form, because entering incorrect information will lead to rejection of the application.
- Applicant Takes a Digital Photograph
Once the sponsorship and LCA has been filed, the applicant can take a photograph of himself/herself for the visa application. This can either be done at home or in a professional studio. The only thing to be remembered by the applicant to mention to the photographer at the professional studio is that the photograph is needed for H1B1 visa application.
- Make Payment and Schedule Appointment
The individual can make the online payment of application fees and schedule an appointment for the visa interview. It is necessary that the applicant carries along all the required documents in original at the time of the interview.
The spouse and unmarried children (below the age of 21 years) of H1B1 visa holder are eligible to get a H4 dependent visa to accompany the principal visa holder in the United States. This visa however, doesn’t allow the dependents on H4 visa to work in the United States. In case they wish to work, they need to file a work visa for the same. The children of the principal visa holder may enrol themselves into school without having to file for a student visa. In order to get the dependent visa, the spouse and children of the Singaporean citizen need not be mandatorily Singaporean.