Everyone who intends to work in the United States must first get a job offer and then have an employer as a sponsor. The employer must then go through the steps known as USA Visa Sponsorship. In this article, we will reply to these questions: what is the sponsorship process? What documents does the employer have to provide, how much does it cost? And how long is the validity of the US visa sponsorship?
Family-based immigrant visas also require a sponsor, but in this article, we will mainly focus on work visas.
What is a USA visa sponsorship?
If you plan to work in the US, you first need to obtain a job offer from an employer willing to hire a foreign workforce. In this circumstance, your employer is a sponsor for you. The prerequisite of the sponsorship process is that your company needs to know that you are not a US national and do not have a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). In other words, sponsorship means that the employer guarantees that you are working in this country legally. You are also only allowed to work in the job position you are employed in.
The employer must commit that your income is equal to an American citizen working in a similar position.
The sponsorship is a set of documentation submitted by an employer to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These documents contain various forms and letters.
In the sponsorship process, the employer must prove that hiring a foreign workforce is a must based on his/her situation. As you know, the US population is high enough to meet the needed employees for the job market. Therefore, an employer must answer to this fundamental question,” why can’t employ a US citizen?”
In the first step, the employer must try to hire domestic labor. For this purpose, he/she can publish job advertisements or get help from job search companies. If the appropriate workforce is not found despite these efforts, the employer can hire a foreign worker. When employers want to initiate the sponsorship process for the intended foreign employee, they must provide the USCIS with documents related to their efforts to find a US workforce.
Who needs a US visa Sponsorship?
All those trying to obtain US work visas, whether immigrant or non-immigrant, need a sponsor. Among non-immigrant visas, applicants for the following visas require a sponsor:
- H1B Visa: For people who have a university degree for certain professions
- H2A Visa: For workers who work temporarily or seasonally in agricultural jobs
- H2B visa: For temporary workers in fields other than agriculture
- L1 Visas (L1A, L1B): For those who work in managerial positions or have specialized knowledge
- O1A Visa: For those who work in the fields of science, education, business, and sports
- O1B Visa: For those working in the arts, motion picture, and television industry
- O2 Visa: For the people accompanying the holders of the O-1 visa
Holders of US immigrant visas ( Employment-Based Immigrant Visa group) and Green Cards also need a sponsor:
- EB1: For people who are well-known in areas such as artistic, scientific, sports, business, or education as well as prominent professors and researchers
- EB2: For peoples with more than a bachelor’s degree and individuals with exceptional capabilities
- EB3: For people who have at least two years of experience or training of relevant work or individuals with higher education degrees and workers with less than two years of work or training experience
- EB4: For people who work in the religion fields, broadcasting organizations, foreign graduates in the medical fields and other
In cases where people have special abilities, such as eligible to apply for the EB1 visa, there is no need to find an employer. So they can be their own sponsors. In this case, all forms and costs must be provided by the applicant. Applicants for EB-5 also apply through self-petitioning.
What is the US Visa Sponsorship Process?
As mentioned, you, as an applicant for a work visa, must obtain an appropriate job offer. The employer will then send you a contract to sign. In some cases, the employer must seek a Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor. According to this certificate, the employer proves that has not found an eligible labor force for that job position among American citizens. After issuing this certificate, the employer can submit his petition to USCIS. Along with the petition, other documents such as travel plans, contracts, and employees’ qualifications must be provided. The employer must submit the following forms:
- For nonimmigrant visas: Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- For immigrant visas: Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
These forms and the instructions showing how to fill them are on the USCIS website. So employers can go to this website and get and fill out the forms. They can also hire a lawyer to do this. Making mistakes while filling out these forms will result in the rejection of the employer’s request. Therefore, hiring a lawyer can prevent these mistakes and prevent the processing time from being prolonged.
USCIS must assess the employer’s request and the supporting documents. Because the number of applications is significantly high, the processing time might be prolonged. In some cases, people wait months to even a year to receive a response from the USCIS.
When the UCIS decides, the result will be communicated to the employee and the employer. If the application is rejected, the reasons for its rejection will be explained. Lack of qualifications and insufficient documents can be the reasons for rejection of the application.
If the application is approved, the employee and the employer can complete the rest of the application process.
How long is the validity of the US visa sponsorship?
By doing the sponsorship process, an essential part of the work visa application process has been complete. So you can go through the rest of the steps and make your travel arrangments. If you are applying for an immigrant visa, you can enter the United States, and you will not need to renew your visa. But if you are applying for an immigrant visa, you should know that the validity of your permission is limited and will expire after a while. The validity period is determined depending on the type of visa you have. The validity of the H1B visa is three years, and some non-immigrant work visas are for one year.
In some cases, you can increase the validity of your visa. For this purpose, the employer must re-apply so that you can get a visa again. In most cases, you cannot renew more than two to three times.
People who have an immigrant work visa can apply for a Green Card after a while. The Green Card is valid for ten years and can be extended indefinitely.
How much does a US visa sponsorship Cost?
In the US visa sponsorship process, most expenses are paid by the employer, which is a relatively high cost. In some cases, the process can cost thousands of dollars. Due to the high cost, many employers are reluctant to do so.
Depending on the type of visa, the following costs will be paid by the employer:
- Form I-129: $460
- Form I-140: $700
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998(ACWIA): $750 or $1,500
- Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: $500
- Employers who have more than 50 workers and 50% of them are foreign: $4,000 or $4,500
Let’s sum up…
In this article, we reviewed the US visa sponsorship process. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas requirements, including the US visa photo requirements, application fee and processing time as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.