What is the H-1B visa classification?
The H-1B visa is available to Walgreens to hire, on a temporary basis, qualified foreign workers. This visa currently has an overall limitation of six years, which includes any prior time the employee has spent working for other employers in the United States under H-1B and/or L-1 status. Walgreens will seek approval of this visa for those employees hired conditionally upon Walgreens effort to obtain approval of this visa classification.
How do I qualify for an H-1B visa?
A threshold requirement of the H-1B visa is that the job offered must require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a specialized field and the candidate must possess a closely related degree to this specialized field, or its equivalent, as recognized by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Diplomas, transcripts, and other education documents issued by foreign institutions must be evaluated by a third-party education credentials evaluator prior to filing the petition, to ensure the equivalency will be recognized by the USCIS. In addition, those documents written in a language other than English will have to be translated by a certified translator.
If the degree is unrelated, the candidate must present complete transcripts, a detailed resume describing previous employment history, and letters from previous employers confirming the work experience in the specialized field. The education and work experience will then need to be evaluated to determine if the credentials are recognized as equivalent to a U.S. degree in the specialized field. Certified translations may also be needed.
What steps are involved in the processing of an H-1B Petition?
Preparation of the H-1B petition involves two steps:
- Preparing and filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) is an attestation by the employer about various job conditions. One example of an attestation is that the employer is paying the prevailing wage for the H-1B position. This must be filed with the Department of Labor. The processing time for LCAs can range from one-three weeks. In certain situations, an LCA is not required since we may have already established blanket LCAs for various positions.
- The H-1B petition can be filed with USCIS once the approved LCA has been received. Processing times for the H-1B petition will vary.
How long does it take to process an H-1B Petition?
It currently is taking six months for the USCIS to process an H-1B Petition once it is filed with the USCIS. Please note that unexpected delays may occur should the USCIS request additional information to process the petition. However, the overall process, from filing with the Department of Labor to the granting of an Approval Notice from the USCIS, can take over six months.
*Note: The above-mentioned processing times do not include: (1) application to take the TSE/TOEFL; (2) application to take the Foreign Pharmacist Graduate Equivalency Exam (FPGEE); (3) travel to the U.S.; and (4) application to state Board of Pharmacy and receipt of requisite intern license and/or certificate.
What do dependents qualify for?
The United States government may allow spouses and children, under the age of 21 years, to accompany the foreign national to the United States. Dependents of those with H-1B visa classification may receive H-4 visa classification.
Can dependents work in the United States?
Foreign nationals with H-4 visa classification may not be employed in the United States.
How long can I stay in the United States in H-1B status?
The H-1B visa is valid for a maximum period of six years. This six-year period includes all time spent in H-1B and/or L-1 status with any employer in the United States. Keep in mind, the H-1B visa grants temporary employment.
When is an amended H-1B petition necessary?
If there is a change in job location, and/or there is a significant change in job duties and responsibilities, including promotions, an amended petition may need to be filed with the USCIS.
If I am currently in H-1B status with another employer, can I start work at Walgreens immediately?
A recently enacted law allows for the portability of H-1B visa classification. If the individual currently holds H-1B visa classification with another employer, he/she can begin work at Walgreens when two conditions are met. The U.S. Department of Labor must certify the Labor Condition Application for a current period of validity date, and a Walgreens H-1B petition on behalf of the individual must be filed with USCIS. Employment authorization shall continue until the new petition is adjudicated. If the new petition is denied, such employment authorization will discontinue.
If I am currently in another nonimmigrant visa classification (other than H-1B) with another employer, can I start work at Walgreens immediately?
H-1B status is employer and job specific. Before commencing employment with Walgreens, USCIS must approve a petition filed on behalf of the individual by Walgreens. Please note that the individual must remain employed with his/her current employer until the new petition has been approved. The processing time in this case can take approximately three-four months.
Is there a numerical limit on available H-1B visas?
The United States Congress has placed a limit on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued during any given fiscal year. Once the limit has been reached for the fiscal year, USCIS will not process any new H-1B petitions until the new fiscal year begins.
How do I extend the H-1B visa classification?
Foreign nationals are granted H-1B visa classification for an initial period of three years. This may be extended for an additional three years, for a maximum of six years, inclusive of all prior stays in H-1B and/or L-1 status.
How long can I stay in the U.S. in H-1B visa classification if my employment with a specific employer terminates?
Foreign nationals in H-1B visa classification are authorized to be in the U.S. for the purpose of productive employment. The day that productive employment ends, even if the employee receives a severance package, the employee must immediately leave the United States or have a new H-1B petition filed on their behalf by a new employer, or otherwise change their status to another nonimmigrant visa classification, before his/her last day of productive employment with the employer.