What is Visa Sponsorship?
Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on March 16, 2022
Visa Sponsorship is a set of documents that states and guarantees working status and job profile within the United States. Ideally, if you are looking to relocate to the US, you would need to find a job, and the employer, in turn, has to be willing to hire a non-resident employee for the particular job profile.
In other words, the employer would be aware of the fact that you are not a Legal Permanent Resident or a US citizen. In effect, they would have to guarantee to the US Visa department that you are about to be a legal working resident with a certain threshold salary. This process is called Visa Sponsorship, where the company agrees to sponsor you and submit documents to the USCIS accordingly.
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Who Can Sponsor a Visa?
Ideally, getting a Visa sponsorship is possible only when you have a working job offer in your name from a US company. In other terms, the employer would sponsor the Visa and submit related documents on your behalf. But they can make the sponsorship only in certain situations.
For instance, the company would be expected first to make a job posting for the position with relevant documents submitted to the Department of Labor. If no suitable response comes in for the job post, the organization can then agree that no American citizen was equipped to be hired for the position.
This justifies their stance of hiring a foreign citizen and sponsoring their Visa. Thus, an organization can sponsor a Visa for you only if they have a suitable opening within the company and can justify why hiring a foreign national becomes imperative here.
How to Sponsor an Immigrant For Work
To sponsor an immigrant for work in the U.S., there are a number of steps required:
- Ensure the position qualifies as a specialty occupation
- Determine the rate of pay for the position
- Notify the U.S. workforce
- Submit a Labor Condition Application to the DOL for certification
- Register with the USCIS for the annual H-1B Lottery
- Await the Lottery selection results
- Submit a completed Form I-129 to USCIS
- Instruct your prospective worker to apply for a visa or admission
Visa Sponsorship Letters
Contrary to popular belief, Visa sponsorship is not exactly a letter. It refers to a set of documents that are submitted by the employer sponsoring the Visa to the US Government. When they open up a job post and look for applications in that sphere from foreign nationals, they exhibit their willingness to hire somebody from outside the country.
In effect, they produce a job offer for the potential employee and then send supporting documents to the US Citizen and Immigration Services. This document contains several forms and other files that relate to the employee’s recruitment details and justify the company’s needs to hire a non-US citizen. These documents also include statements where the company ensures that they are willingly going through this recruitment. This set of documents is called the Visa Sponsorship Letters.
Non-immigrant sponsorships are only used for a temporary basis where the individual cannot ultimately become a US citizen. This is valid for individuals who are only temporarily moving to the country. This means Non-immigrant visa holders are not eligible for Green Cards, indicating that the Visa does not qualify for US citizenship later.
If the job requires you to travel for a short period of time only, this would be the ideal Visa sponsorship for you. However, this means that you would require an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the United States.
While there are a number of different non-immigrant Visas, the following require sponsorship from an employer.
- H-1B visa
- H-2A visa
- H-2B visa
- L1 visas
- O-1A visa
- O-1B visa
- O-2 visa
Work Visa Sponsorship
Employer Visa sponsorship also comes in handy for immigrant Visa or Green Cards. For individuals who hold Immigrant Visa Sponsorship, they do not require a separate Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the country.
With this Visa, not only can you live in the United States, but also become a Legal Permanent Resident. In effect, you can enroll in a school, purchase property, or even get yourself a Driver’s License with this Visa arrangement.
These immigrant Visas are segregated into multiple categories depending upon the purpose of the Visa. Some of the Visas in the category include:
- EB-1 Visa
- EB-2 Visa
- EB-3 Visa
- EB-4 Visa
How To Get A Sponsorship Letter?
Getting a sponsorship letter is a long and detailed process. More often than not, the employer hires a lawyer to take care of the process. Documentation and justification should be accurate. Here are some of the steps followed:
- The first step requires the employee to get an offer from a US employer. This also includes the contract that goes into the sponsorship documents.
- For a non-immigrant Visa, a Labor Certification has to be produced to the Department of Labor, stating that the employer could not find a suitable potential employee within the country.
- The petition, along with the documents, is submitted to the USCIS. This set of documentation includes contracts, itineraries, qualifications of the individual, and the likes.
- With the submission of all the necessary documents, the USCIS processes the Visa sponsorship application. This takes some time, depending upon the total number of pending cases with the USCIS. Sometimes, it takes months for the application to be processed.
- If the application is approved and the report is positive, both the employer and employee will be informed about the same. At this point in time, the employee can start the actual Visa application process in their home country, with the US Embassy.
- In the situation that the application is rejected, again, the employer and employee are informed accordingly. This also includes the reason for the rejection, which could be the lack of employee qualification or inadequate documentation.
How Much Does It Cost to Sponsor a Visa?
In general, a visa sponsorship costs approximately $4000 but may cost $8-9,000 if a company has more than fifty employees and 50% of those employees are foreign nationals.
Most of the cost of the Visa sponsorship is covered by the employer making the job offer. It is a costly affair, and some of the general expenses include:
|American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 charges||$750 to $1,500|
|Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee||$500|
|For employers with more than 50 employees, with half of them being foreign nationals||$4,000 or $4,500|
How Long Is A Visa Sponsorship Valid?
The validity of the Visa Sponsorship depends on the type of Visa you are working with. For instance, if you opt for an Immigrant Visa, it is a permanent solution. This effectively means you are a Green Card holder with a validity of 10 years, followed by unlimited extensions. You can also apply for permanent citizenship after five years of your stay in the United States.
On the other hand, if you have a non-immigrant visa, it would be valid for one year or three years, depending on the type of Visa. When the Visa sponsorship approaches the expiration date, the employer can again apply to the USCIS for an extension. However, in this case, you can only extend the sponsorship for a maximum of 2 or 3 times.
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