Entering the U.S. on a H-1B Work Visa

Inbound H-1B Visa and H-4 holders must have qualified health insurance while in the U.S.

san jose medicare supplementBefore traveling to the U.S. a citizen of a foreign country must generally obtain a non immigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.

In Silicon Valley for example the H-1B Visa is by far the most requested employment Visa.  The US government reserves H-1B visas for well educated, highly skilled and specialized foreign workers and requires the visa holder to have at least a Bachelors degree or its equivalent.

H-1B Visa Insurance .. (& family members H-4 Visa) This is a true International Travel Medical policy, which protects you wherever you work, live or study worldwide.

Once obtained, an H-1B visa allows it’s bearer to stay and work in the U.S. legally for up to three years.  After those three years, the visa can be renewed for up to six total year.

The H-1B visa is often utilized by engineers, teachers, professors, designers, researchers, computer scientists and other professionals as a means to gain valuable work experience in the United States.

The employer must file the petition for the visa on behalf of the employee, who is not allowed to self-petition.

Current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a H-1B visa status each year.  Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the H-1B visa cap.  Also excluded from the cap are H-1B non-immigrants who work at universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities or government research facilities.

This means contractors employed by the institutions may be exempt from the cap.  Also, Free Trade Agreements carve out 1,400 H-1B1 visas for Chilean nationals and 5,400 H-1B1 visas for Singapore nationals.  Due to these exemptions and roll-overs, the number of H-1B visas issued each year is significantly more than the 65,000 cap, with 117,828 issued in 2010, 129,552 in 2011 and 135,991 in 2012.

Family Members … What about H-1B visa family members?  The family members if living outside the U.S. may apply for their H-4 visas at the U.S. consulate in their home country.  They apply during or after the employee has been issued their H-1B visa.

Travel Medical coverage for U.S. inbound along with outbound employees, students, contractors and their family members.

Free Service … Our advice and services are free of charge, and the premium you pay should you buy a policy through us will never be higher than going direct to the insurer.

Need help or have questions?  Feel free to contact me anytime.  I’m happy to help.

John Conner

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Silicon Valley H1B Visa Insurance

Silicon Valley executives state they typically have over 120,000 new computer related jobs available every year and our schools are only generating a little over 50,000 new graduates.  So where is the needed balance generated … H-1B visa workers.

It’s not just the tech industry clamoring for new foreign talent.  Health Care, financial services and manufacturing are also pushing Washington to increase the H-1B visa available numbers.

International Health Insurance for H-1B Visa workers.

Resident Aliens may enroll in a PPACA plan, enroll in the employers health plan or choose their own International Health Insurance plan from companies like GeoBlue or Cigna Global.

The advantages of your own International plan are; you may choose from a typically much larger network of doctors and hospitals while in the U.S. compared to a ppaca plan.  International plans continue to cover you when you leave the U.S. for short and long periods of time.  Also, if you are sent on a different foreign work assignment in another part of the world, you simply take your current International plan with you without needing to make any changes.

H-1B Visa Occupation

The H1B visa is designed to be used for foreign workers in “specialty occupations”, which require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.

The occupation list includes, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, biotechnology, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts. The “specialty occupations” also require the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum.

Period of Stay
H1B Visa worker may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years. There are some exceptions under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).
1. If the H1-B visa holder has submitted an I-140 immigrant petition or a labor certification prior to their fifth year anniversary of having the H-1B visa, they are entitled to renew their H-1B visa in one-year or three-year increments until a decision has been rendered on their application for permanent residence.
2. If the H1-B visa holder has an approved I-140 immigrant petition, but is unable to initiate the final step of the green card process due to their priority date not being current, they may be entitled to a three-year extension of their H-1B visa.
3. The maximum duration of the H-1B visa is ten years for exceptional Defense Department project related work.
Outbound Employees

U.S. resident employees who are given a short or long-term foreign assignment will need comprehensive medical coverage.  Either from the country they are working in, or an International Medical policy which will provide comprehensive medical coverage regardless of where they are in the world.  U.S. domestic health insurance does not provide comprehensive medical coverage outside the U.S. borders.

International medical policies can be designed as an “employer group” plan, providing policies to several employees in the same location or different global positions.  Or, the employee(s) can have their own individual policy which can be paid for by either the employer or the individual member.

Nice tools are available with GeoBlue Worldwide and Cigna Global.  Both have app’s which you can download that provide global information on doctor profiles, where to pick up prescriptions, view and send your ID card, translation tools, access to member services 24/7 and much more.

Also typically included in your policy will be International emergency evacuation, designed to fly you to the nearest medical facility, if treatment is not available to you locally or back to the U.S.

Kidnap and ransom insurance is becoming a popular add-on depending where you will be living, to protect employees and their families when traveling abroad.

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Please contact me anytime with questions.

John Conner