California H-1B Visa Lawyer
An alternative visa for highly-skilled religious workers
Although most religious workers will use the R-1 visa category, there are times it may not be the best fit. For example, ministers and religious workers who have not been members of the sponsoring church’s religious denomination for two years will not qualify. The H-1B visa provides a solution for religious workers who hold university degrees. It allows the religious worker to remain in the United States for up to six years, and visa holders can change to an R-1 visa or apply for an EB-4 Religious Worker green card during this time.
The H1-B visa process can get complicated, and one mistake can make you miss the opportunity to apply. There are only 85,000 H-1B visas available each fiscal year, and 20,000 of these visas are reserved for people with master’s degrees or higher levels of education from U.S colleges and universities. These visa caps have been reached in recent years, so it is imperative to consult with a seasoned lawyer who can walk you through the application process and explain what to expect as your case moves forward.
Call Davis Legal Center today at (530) 418-0906 for a consultation to determine the best visa for your church.
Question #1: Are there exemptions to the H-1B visa cap limit?
A: An employee is generally exempt from the H-1B numerical limitations if they previously received an H-1B visa or were granted H-1B status. Employers are also exempt from the cap if they are a higher education institution, non-profit organization associated with a higher education institution, or a non-profit research organization. Most churches will not qualify as cap exempt employers, but the Davis Legal Center can advise on your best solution.
Question #2: Can an H-1B visa be transferred to another employer?
A: Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), an employee who is presently employed in H-1B status can transition their H-1B to a different employer. Workers can even start working for the new employer while their application is pending one the petition has been received by USCIS and they have received their I-797 Notice of Action receipt.
Question #3: Can the spouse or children of an H-1B holder live in the United States?
A: The spouse and minor children of an H-1B religious worker can legally live in the United States if they obtain H-4 status. Some H-4 visa holders may even qualify to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work while inside the country.
Our attorney has represented some of the largest religious denominations in the world and will gladly help you devise a strategy to pursue your immigration goals with confidence.
Contact us online or call (530) 418-0906 to discuss your immigration options.
I am the principal attorney at the Davis Legal Center, a boutique immigration law and consulting office in Northern California. I have more than ten years of experience working on human rights and immigration law and policy matters across the globe.
Decade of Experience
Our principal attorney has more than a decade of experience working in human rights, immigration, and international policy.
Davis Legal Center only works with churches and religious workers, so you benefit from our specialized expertise.
Global RepresentationDavis Legal Center has represented clients in more than 50 countries and has the experience to provide full legal representation no matter your location.
Davis Legal Center is experienced working with all religious denominations and cross-denominational staff.