The H-1B2 visa allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for certain Department of Defense specialty occupations temporarily. H-1B2 visas fit into the category of employment “H” visas because they are for non-immigrant workers.
H-1B2 visas are specifically for temporary workers in specialty occupations related to the United States Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects or Co-production projects. The project must be pursuant to an agreement issued by the United States Department of Defense with other government(s). A worker using a H-1B2 visa cannot stay in the U.S. permanently.
Individuals qualify for the H-1B2 visa if they have a specified skill that is useful for a particular project managed under the United States Department of Defense. The H-1B2 visa is not limited to individuals of certain nationalities or citizenship, unlike some other visas.
An individual must also have:
The H-1B2 visa is available only for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college. Individuals with an education from a college or university outside of the United States that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or higher may need their credentials evaluated. In that case, after credentials are evaluated and confirmed, a report proving equivalency will be issued. Thus, the process for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a United States college or university is easier than for those who do not. The individual must have a bachelor’s degree or higher that matches the work the individual would do with the Department of Defense. For example, an individual with a degree in architecture only qualifies for work with the Department of Defense involving architecture.
The H-1B2 visas generally apply to positions of employment in connection with the United States Department of Defense. The sort of employment necessary under the H-1B2 visa may vary, though it typically involves employment requiring specialized or extraordinary skill. Some examples include law, architecture, engineering, or medicine.
The process for obtaining a H-1B2 visa is largely similar to the process for obtaining a H-1B visa. However, the employer is not required to submit a Labor Condition Application to the Department of Labor. H-1B2 visas are subject to a cap and applicants are selected through a lottery system.
Employers can file the H-1B2 petition only IF their applicant is selected in the lottery. While selected applicants can begin filing the necessary forms on April 1st, the earliest an employer or potential employer can initiate the visa process is 6 months prior to the employment date stated on the petition or 6 months prior to the expiration date of your current H-1B2 status.
The usual processing time for a H-1B2 visa to become active is 60-90 days, though this can be expedited to at most 15 days if a $2,500 premium processing fee is paid. The premium processing fee is refunded if the processing time lasts longer than 15 days.
Employers or potential employers must complete a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker via form I-129. Your employer or potential employer must submit form I-129 and the certified Labor Condition Application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as any fees and additional documentation that confirms your education level, certification, licensure, professional qualifications, employment or potential employment, and support from your employer or potential employer.
If you are already in the United States, after your form I-129 is approved, you can only begin working once your H-1B2 visa status becomes active.
If you are not in the United States at the time you form I-129 is approved, you must take necessary steps to lawfully enter the United States so you may begin working. To do so, you must first complete Form DS-160 online, pay the application fee, and schedule an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in Chile or Singapore, as applicable.
At your interview, you must have certain documents with you, including:
Besides fulfilling the necessary petition requirements identical to those for employing a H-1B visa holder, any employer who wishes to employ a H-1B2 visa holder must submit with the petition certain other documentation, including:
One major difference between the H-1B2 visa and other H visas is its length. The H-1B2 visa is valid for up to ten years. The length of other visas is much shorter. After ten years, the H-1B2 visa may be extended for another five years, for a total of a 15 year stay. After the five year extension, a H-1B2 visa holder must spend at least one year outside of the United States before again being eligible for the H-1B2 visa.
The cost of a H-1B2 is in the thousands of dollars. Most if not all of this cost is generally paid by the employer, not the employee or potential employee.
Registration fee: It costs only $10 to register, and this is all that must be paid if the potential employee is not selected in the lottery.
Basic filing fee (form I-129): Any time the form I-129 is filed, it must be accompanied with a $460 filing fee. Thus, this fee applies to H-1B2 transfer costs, refiling, amendments, and renewals.
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act Training Fee: Employers with 1-25 full time employees must pay $750 under this act, while employers with 26 or more full time employees must pay $1,500. Nonprofits affiliated with educational institutions, government research organizations, and primary or secondary educational institutions are exempt from this fee.
Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: New H-1B2 applicants or those changing to a new employer are charged $500 so that USCIS can better detect fraudulent use of the H-1B2 visa. This fee is not charged if an employee is extending his or her work with the same sponsoring employer.
Public Law 114-113 Fee: This is a $4,000 fee charged to companies that employ more than 50 workers where over half of the employees are on H-1B2 or L1 status.
Premium Processing Fee: This is an optional $2,500 fee charged to those who wish to expedite the H-1B1 visa process. It may be paid by either the employee or the employer. Payment of this fee and completion of form I-907 guarantees a 15-day processing time.