United States employer
United States employer means a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association, or organization in the United States which:
(1) Engages a person to work within the United States;
(2) Has an employer-employee relationship with respect to employees under this part, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee; and
(3) Has an Internal Revenue Service Tax identification number.
(iii) Criteria for H-1B petitions involving a specialty occupation -
(A) Standards for specialty occupation position. To qualify as a specialty occupation, the position must meet one of the following criteria:
(1) A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;
(2) The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;
(3) The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
(4) The nature of the specific duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.
(B) Petitioner requirements. The petitioner shall submit the following with an H-1B petition involving a specialty occupation:
(1) A certification from the Secretary of Labor that the petitioner has filed a labor condition application with the Secretary,
(2) A statement that it will comply with the terms of the labor condition application for the duration of the alien's authorized period of stay,
(3) Evidence that the alien qualifies to perform services in the specialty occupation as described in paragraph (h)(4)(iii)(A) of this section, and
(C) Beneficiary qualifications. To qualify to perform services in a specialty occupation, the alien must meet one of the following criteria:
(1) Hold a United States baccalaureate or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
(2) Hold a foreign degree determined to be equivalent to a United States baccalaureate or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
(3) Hold an unrestricted State license, registration or certification which authorizes him or her to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; or
(4) Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to completion of a United States baccalaureate or higher degree in the specialty occupation, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
(D) Equivalence to completion of a college degree. For purposes of paragraph (h)(4)(iii)(C)(4) of this section, equivalence to completion of a United States baccalaureate or higher degree shall mean achievement of a level of knowledge, competence, and practice in the specialty occupation that has been determined to be equal to that of an individual who has a baccalaureate or higher degree in the specialty and shall be determined by one or more of the following:
(1) An evaluation from an official who has authority to grant college-level credit for training and/or experience in the specialty at an accredited college or university which has a program for granting such credit based on an individual's training and/or work experience;
(2) The results of recognized college-level equivalency examinations or special credit programs, such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI);
(3) An evaluation of education by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials;
(4) Evidence of certification or registration from a nationally-recognized professional association or society for the specialty that is known to grant certification or registration to persons in the occupational specialty who have achieved a certain level of competence in the specialty;
(5) A determination by the Service that the equivalent of the degree required by the specialty occupation has been acquired through a combination of education, specialized training, and/or work experience in areas related to the specialty and that the alien has achieved recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation as a result of such training and experience. For purposes of determining equivalency to a baccalaureate degree in the specialty, three years of specialized training and/or work experience must be demonstrated for each year of college-level training the alien lacks. For equivalence to an advanced (or Masters) degree, the alien must have a baccalaureate degree followed by at least five years of experience in the specialty. If required by a specialty, the alien must hold a Doctorate degree or its foreign equivalent. It must be clearly demonstrated that the alien's training and/or work experience included the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge required by the specialty occupation; that the alien's experience was gained while working with peers, supervisors, or subordinates who have a degree or its equivalent in the specialty occupation; and that the alien has recognition of expertise in the specialty evidenced by at least one type of documentation such as:
(i) Recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation by at least two recognized authorities in the same specialty occupation;
(ii) Membership in a recognized foreign or United States association or society in the specialty occupation;
(iii) Published material by or about the alien in professional publications, trade journals, books, or major newspapers;
(iv) Licensure or registration to practice the specialty occupation in a foreign country; or
(v) Achievements which a recognized authority has determined to be significant contributions to the field of the specialty occupation.
(E) Liability for transportation costs. The employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of return transportation of the alien abroad if the alien is dismissed from employment by the employer before the end of the period of authorized admission pursuant to section 214(c)(5) of the Act. If the beneficiary voluntarily terminates his or her employment prior to the expiration of the validity of the petition, the alien has not been dismissed. If the beneficiary believes that the employer has not complied with this provision, the beneficiary shall advise the Service Center which adjudicated the petition in writing. The complaint will be retained in the file relating to the petition. Within the context of this paragraph, the term “abroad” refers to the alien's last place of foreign residence. This provision applies to any employer whose offer of employment became the basis for an alien obtaining or continuing H-1B status.
(iv) General documentary requirements for H-1B classification in a specialty occupation. An H-1B petition involving a specialty occupation shall be accompanied by:
(A) Documentation, certifications, affidavits, declarations, degrees, diplomas, writings, reviews, or any other required evidence sufficient to establish that the beneficiary is qualified to perform services in a specialty occupation as described in paragraph (h)(4)(i) of this section and that the services the beneficiary is to perform are in a specialty occupation. The evidence shall conform to the following:
(1) School records, diplomas, degrees, affidavits, declarations, contracts, and similar documentation submitted must reflect periods of attendance, courses of study, and similar pertinent data, be executed by the person in charge of the records of the educational or other institution, firm, or establishment where education or training was acquired.
(2) Affidavits or declarations made under penalty of perjury submitted by present or former employers or recognized authorities certifying as to the recognition and expertise of the beneficiary shall specifically describe the beneficiary's recognition and ability in factual terms and must set forth the expertise of the affiant and the manner in which the affiant acquired such information.
(B) Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner and beneficiary, or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed, if there is no written contract.
(v) Licensure for H classification -
(A) General. If an occupation requires a state or local license for an individual to fully perform the duties of the occupation, an alien (except an H-1C nurse) seeking H classification in that occupation must have that license prior to approval of the petition to be found qualified to enter the United States and immediately engage in employment in the occupation.
(B) Temporary licensure. If a temporary license is available and the alien is allowed to perform the duties of the occupation without a permanent license, the director shall examine the nature of the duties, the level at which the duties are performed, the degree of supervision received, and any limitations placed on the alien. If an analysis of the facts demonstrates that the alien under supervision is authorized to fully perform the duties of the occupation, H classification may be granted.
(C) Duties without licensure.
(1) In certain occupations which generally require licensure, a state may allow an individual without licensure to fully practice the occupation under the supervision of licensed senior or supervisory personnel in that occupation. In such cases, USCIS shall examine the nature of the duties and the level at which they are performed, as well as evidence provided by the petitioner as to the identity, physical location, and credentials of the individual(s) who will supervise the alien, and evidence that the petitioner is complying with state requirements. If the facts demonstrate that the alien under supervision will fully perform the duties of the occupation, H classification may be granted.
(2) An H-1B petition filed on behalf of an alien who does not have a valid state or local license, where a license is otherwise required to fully perform the duties in that occupation, may be approved for a period of up to 1 year if:
(i) The license would otherwise be issued provided the alien was in possession of a valid Social Security number, was authorized for employment in the United States, or met a similar technical requirement; and
(ii) The petitioner demonstrates, through evidence from the state or local licensing authority, that the only obstacle to the issuance of a license to the beneficiary is the lack of a Social Security number, a lack of employment authorization in the United States, or a failure to meet a similar technical requirement that precludes the issuance of the license to an individual who is not yet in H-1B status. The petitioner must demonstrate that the alien is fully qualified to receive the state or local license in all other respects, meaning that all educational, training, experience, and other substantive requirements have been met. The alien must have filed an application for the license in accordance with applicable state and local rules and procedures, provided that state or local rules or procedures do not prohibit the alien from filing the license application without provision of a Social Security number or proof of employment authorization or without meeting a similar technical requirement.
(3) An H-1B petition filed on behalf of an alien who has been previously accorded H-1B classification under paragraph (h)(4)(v)(C)(2) of this section may not be approved unless the petitioner demonstrates that the alien has obtained the required license, is seeking to employ the alien in a position requiring a different license, or the alien will be employed in that occupation in a different location which does not require a state or local license to fully perform the duties of the occupation.
(D) H-1C nurses. For purposes of licensure, H-1C nurses must provide the evidence required in paragraph (h)(3)(iii) of this section.
(E) Limitation on approval of petition. Where licensure is required in any occupation, including registered nursing, the H petition may only be approved for a period of one year or for the period that the temporary license is valid, whichever is longer, unless the alien already has a permanent license to practice the occupation. An alien who is accorded H classification in an occupation which requires licensure may not be granted an extension of stay or accorded a new H classification after the one year unless he or she has obtained a permanent license in the state of intended employment or continues to hold a temporary license valid in the same state for the period of the requested extension.
(vi) Criteria and documentary requirements for H-1B petitions involving DOD cooperative research and development projects or coproduction projects -
(1) For purposes of H-1B classification, services of an exceptional nature relating to DOD cooperative research and development projects or coproduction projects shall be those services which require a baccalaureate or higher degree, or its equivalent, to perform the duties. The existence of this special program does not preclude the DOD from utilizing the regular H-1B provisions provided the required guidelines are met.
(2) The requirements relating to a labor condition application from the Department of Labor shall not apply to petitions involving DOD cooperative research and development projects or coproduction projects.
(B) Petitioner requirements.
(1) The petition must be accompanied by a verification letter from the DOD project manager for the particular project stating that the alien will be working on a cooperative research and development project or a coproduction project under a reciprocal Government-to-Government agreement administered by DOD. Details about the specific project are not required.
(2) The petitioner shall provide a general description of the alien's duties on the particular project and indicate the actual dates of the alien's employment on the project.
(3) The petitioner shall submit a statement indicating the names of aliens currently employed on the project in the United States and their dates of employment. The petitioner shall also indicate the names of aliens whose employment on the project ended within the past year.
(C) Beneficiary requirement. The petition shall be accompanied by evidence that the beneficiary has a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent in the occupational field in which he or she will be performing services in accordance with paragraph (h)(4)(iii)(C) and/or (h)(4)(iii)(D) of this section.
(vii) Criteria and documentary requirements for H-1B petitions for aliens of distinguished merit and ability in the field of fashion modeling -
(A) General. Prominence in the field of fashion modeling may be established in the case of an individual fashion model. The work which a prominent alien is coming to perform in the United States must require the services of a prominent alien. A petition for an H-1B alien of distinguished merit and ability in the field of fashion modeling shall be accompanied by:
(1) Documentation, certifications, affidavits, writings, reviews, or any other required evidence sufficient to establish that the beneficiary is a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. Affidavits submitted by present or former employers or recognized experts certifying to the recognition and distinguished ability of the beneficiary shall specifically describe the beneficiary's recognition and ability in factual terms and must set forth the expertise of the affiant and the manner in which the affiant acquired such information.
(2) Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner and beneficiary, or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed, if there is no written contract.
(B) Petitioner's requirements. To establish that a position requires prominence, the petitioner must establish that the position meets one of the following criteria:
(1) The services to be performed involve events or productions which have a distinguished reputation;
(2) The services are to be performed for an organization or establishment that has a distinguished reputation for, or record of, employing prominent persons.
(C) Beneficiary's requirements. A petitioner may establish that a beneficiary is a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability by the submission of two of the following forms of documentation showing that the alien:
(1) Has achieved national or international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in his or her field as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other published material;
(2) Has performed and will perform services as a fashion model for employers with a distinguished reputation;
(3) Has received recognition for significant achievements from organizations, critics, fashion houses, modeling agencies, or other recognized experts in the field; or
(4) Commands a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
(viii) Criteria and documentary requirements for H-1B petitions for physicians -
(A) Beneficiary's requirements. An H-1B petition for a physician shall be accompanied by evidence that the physician:
(1) Has a license or other authorization required by the state of intended employment to practice medicine, or is exempt by law therefrom, if the physician will perform direct patient care and the state requires the license or authorization, and
(2) Has a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a foreign state or has graduated from a medical school in the United States or in a foreign state.
(B) Petitioner's requirements. The petitioner must establish that the alien physician:
(1) Is coming to the United States primarily to teach or conduct research, or both, at or for a public or nonprofit private educational or research institution or agency, and that no patient care will be performed, except that which is incidental to the physician's teaching or research; or
(2) The alien has passed the Federation Licensing Examination (or an equivalent examination as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) or is a graduate of a United States medical school; and
(i) Has competency in oral and written English which shall be demonstrated by the passage of the English language proficiency test given by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates; or
(ii) Is a graduate of a school of medicine accredited by a body or bodies approved for that purpose by the Secretary of Education.
(C) Exception for physicians of national or international renown. A physician who is a graduate of a medical school in a foreign state and who is of national or international renown in the field of medicine is exempt from the requirements of paragraph (h)(4)(viii)(B) of this section.
(5) Petition for alien to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature (H-2A) -
(i) Filing a petition -
(A) General. An H-2A petition must be filed on the form prescribed by USCIS with a single valid temporary agricultural labor certification. The petition may be filed by either the employer listed on the temporary labor certification, the employer's agent, or the association of United States agricultural producers named as a joint employer on the temporary labor certification.
(B) Multiple beneficiaries. The total number of beneficiaries of a petition or series of petitions based on the same temporary labor certification may not exceed the number of workers indicated on that document. A single petition can include more than one named beneficiary if the total number is 25 or less and does not exceed the number of positions indicated on the relating temporary labor certification.
(D) Evidence. An H-2A petitioner must show that the proposed employment qualifies as a basis for H-2A status, and that any named beneficiary qualifies for that employment. A petition will be automatically denied if filed without the certification evidence required in paragraph (h)(5)(i)(A) of this section and, for each named beneficiary, the initial evidence required in paragraph (h)(5)(v) of this section.
(E) Special filing requirements. Where a certification shows joint employers, a petition must be filed with an attachment showing that each employer has agreed to the conditions of H-2A eligibility. A petition filed by an agent must be filed with an attachment in which the employer has authorized the agent to act on its behalf, has assumed full responsibility for all representations made by the agent on its behalf, and has agreed to the conditions of H-2A eligibility.
(F) Eligible Countries.
(1)(i) H-2A petitions may only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, in a notice published in the Federal Register, taking into account factors, including but not limited to:
(A) The country's cooperation with respect to issuance of travel documents for citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country who are subject to a final order of removal;
(B) The number of final and unexecuted orders of removal against citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country;
(C) The number of orders of removal executed against citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country; and
(D) Such other factors as may serve the U.S. interest.
(ii) A national from a country not on the list described in paragraph (h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) of this section may be a beneficiary of an approved H-2A petition upon the request of a petitioner or potential H-2A petitioner, if the Secretary of Homeland Security, in his sole and unreviewable discretion, determines that it is in the U.S. interest for that alien to be a beneficiary of such petition. Determination of such a U.S. interest will take into account factors, including but not limited to:
(A) Evidence from the petitioner demonstrating that a worker with the required skills is not available either from among U.S. workers or from among foreign workers from a country currently on the list described in paragraph (h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) of this section;
(B) Evidence that the beneficiary has been admitted to the United States previously in H-2A status;
(C) The potential for abuse, fraud, or other harm to the integrity of the H-2A visa program through the potential admission of a beneficiary from a country not currently on the list; and
(D) Such other factors as may serve the U.S. interest.
(2) Once published, any designation of participating countries pursuant to paragraph (h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) of this section shall be effective for one year after the date of publication in the Federal Register and shall be without effect at the end of that one-year period.
(ii) Effect of the labor certification process. The temporary agricultural labor certification process determines whether employment is as an agricultural worker, whether it is open to U.S. workers, if qualified U.S. workers are available, the adverse impact of employment of a qualified alien, and whether employment conditions, including housing, meet applicable requirements. In petition proceedings a petitioner must establish that the employment and beneficiary meet the requirements of paragraph (h)(5) of this section.
(iii) Ability and intent to meet a job offer -
(A) Eligibility requirements. An H-2A petitioner must establish that each beneficiary will be employed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the certification, which includes that the principal duties to be performed are those on the certification, with other duties minor and incidental.
(B) Intent and prior compliance. Requisite intent cannot be established for two years after an employer or joint employer, or a parent, subsidiary or affiliate thereof, is found to have violated section 274(a) of the Act or to have employed an H-2A worker in a position other than that described in the relating petition.
(C) Initial evidence. Representations required for the purpose of labor certification are initial evidence of intent.
(iv) Temporary and seasonal employment -
(A) Eligibility requirements. An H-2A petitioner must establish that the employment proposed in the certification is of a temporary or seasonal nature. Employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle or a specific aspect of a longer cycle, and requires labor levels far above those necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary nature where the employer's need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than one year.
(B) Effect of Department of Labor findings. In temporary agricultural labor certification proceedings the Department of Labor separately tests whether employment qualifies as temporary or seasonal. Its finding that employment qualifies is normally sufficient for the purpose of an H-2A petition, However, notwithstanding that finding, employment will be found not to be temporary or seasonal where an application for permanent labor certification has been filed for the same alien, or for another alien to be employed in the same position, by the same employer or by its parent, subsidiary or affiliate. This can only be overcome by the petitioner's demonstration that there will be at least a six month interruption of employment in the United States after H-2A status ends. Also, eligibility will not be found, notwithstanding the issuance of a temporary agricultural labor certification, where there is substantial evidence that the employment is not temporary or seasonal.
(v) The beneficiary's qualifications -
(A) Eligibility requirements. An H-2A petitioner must establish that any named beneficiary met the stated minimum requirements and was fully able to perform the stated duties when the application for certification was filed. It must be established at time of application for an H-2A visa, or for admission if a visa is not required, that any unnamed beneficiary either met these requirements when the certification was applied for or passed any certified aptitude test at any time prior to visa issuance, or prior to admission if a visa is not required.
(B) Evidence of employment/job training. For petitions with named beneficiaries, a petition must be filed with evidence that the beneficiary met the certification's minimum employment and job training requirements, if any are prescribed, as of the date of the filing of the labor certification application. For petitions with unnamed beneficiaries, such evidence must be submitted at the time of a visa application or, if a visa is not required, at the time the applicant seeks admission to the United States. Evidence must be in the form of the past employer or employers' detailed statement(s) or actual employment documents, such as company payroll or tax records. Alternately, a petitioner must show that such evidence cannot be obtained, and submit affidavits from persons who worked with the beneficiary that demonstrate the claimed employment or job training.
(C) Evidence of education and other training. For petitions with named beneficiaries, a petition must be filed with evidence that the beneficiary met all of the certification's post-secondary education and other formal training requirements, if any are prescribed in the labor certification application as of date of the filing of the labor certification application. For petitions with unnamed beneficiaries, such evidence must be submitted at the time of a visa application or, if a visa is not required, at the time the applicant seeks admission to the United States. Evidence must be in the form of documents, issued by the relevant institution(s) or organization(s), that show periods of attendance, majors and degrees or certificates accorded.
(vi) Petitioner consent and notification requirements -
(A) Consent. In filing an H-2A petition, a petitioner and each employer consents to allow access to the site by DHS officers where the labor is being performed for the purpose of determining compliance with H-2A requirements.
(B) Agreements. The petitioner agrees to the following requirements:
(1) To notify DHS, within 2 workdays, and beginning on a date and in a manner specified in a notice published in the Federal Register if:
(i) An H-2A worker fails to report to work within 5 workdays of the employment start date on the H-2A petition or within 5 workdays of the start date established by his or her employer, whichever is later;
(ii) The agricultural labor or services for which H-2A workers were hired is completed more than 30 days earlier than the employment end date stated on the H-2A petition; or
(iii) The H-2A worker absconds from the worksite or is terminated prior to the completion of agricultural labor or services for which he or she was hired.
(2) To retain evidence of such notification and make it available for inspection by DHS officers for a 1-year period beginning on the date of the notification. To retain evidence of a different employment start date if it is changed from that on the petition by the employer and make it available for inspection by DHS officers for the 1-year period beginning on the newly-established employment start date.