H-1B1 for Singaporean and Chilean Nationals

The H-1B1 category of work visa was created by the U.S./Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the U.S./Chile Free Trade Agreement, and only Singaporean and Chilean citizens are eligible as principal applicants.  There are 1,400 H-1B1 visas available for Chileans nationals and 5,400 H-1B1 visas for Singaporean nationals.  The visa availability is per fiscal year, which is from October 1 to September 30.

Spouses and dependent children (unmarried and 21 years of age) may obtain dependent H-4 status.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • The position must be a specialty occupation; that is, it must require theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. Some examples of specialty occupations are jobs in the fields of engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, computer sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties such as management and human resources (think H-1B).
  • The foreign national must have a post-secondary degree involving at least four years of study in his or her field of specialization.
  • H-1B1 visa does not allow the foreign national to be self-employed or be an independent contractor.
  • The period of employment in the U.S. must be temporary, so the foreign national must demonstrate non-immigrant intent (unlike an H-1B, which allows for “dual intent”). H-1B1 status is issued in one-year increments, as opposed to 3 year validity periods in H-1B visa status.
  • The United States Citizenship and immigration Services typically approves H1B1 petitions for a one year term which can be extended subsequently.

Unlike the H-1B visa, there is no requirement for a Petition for Nonimmigrant worker to be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The candidate can apply for a H-1B1 visa directly at the US Consulate in his or her home country by submitting the appropriate nonimmigrant visa application along with a detailed employment offer letter, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified by the Department of Labor, and the relevant supporting documents.

Due to the limited availability of H-1B visas, employers may find it useful to consider filing H-1B1 petitions for eligible candidates. Filing H-1B1 visa petitions does not preclude citizens of Chile and Singapore from obtainig a regular H-1B visa.

Please contact our law office for additional discussion of this category and alternative options, such as changing to H-1B status to allow for starting the process of filing for permanent resident status.