H1B1 Visa For Chileans And Singaporeans:

A Real H-1B Alternative


The H1B1 visa category, much like the H1B category, is designated for specialty occupation professionals. The category is reserved only for nationals of Chile and Singapore subsequent to a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. While the category is very similar to the H1B, there a few distinct differences as well. Let’s take a closer look at the H1B1 visa category which is one of the best H1B alternatives for Chilean and Singaporeans.

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A. H1B1 Visa Requirements For Chileans And Singaporeans

The basic requirements for the H1B1 visa category, which are essentially identical to those of the H1B visa category, are:

1.You must be a citizen of Chile or Singapore

2.The position offered to you must be in a specialty occupation, that is, it must require the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, the attainment of which is generally gained through a bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent, in the specific specialty, as a minimum for entry into the occupation

3.You must have attained a post-secondary bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, involving at least four years of study in your field of specialization

4.You will be employed by a U.S. employer

NOTE: The H1B1 visa does not allow you to be self-employed or to be an independent contractor.

5.The period of employment in the U.S. must be temporary, so you must demonstrate nonimmigrant intent

Chileans who are offered positions as an Agricultural Manager or Physical Therapist, or Singaporeans and Chileans offered positions as a Management Consultant or Disaster Relief Claims Adjusters are exempt from the bachelor’s degree requirement.

B. H1B1 Visa Application Process

Like most other treaty based visas (including the E-1, E-2, E-3, and TN), you do not have to have a petition approved by the United States Citizenship and immigration Services (USCIS) before you can apply for an H1B1 visa. The employer does not have to submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS, and you do not need to obtain a Notice of Approval, Form I-797, before submitting your visa application. You can apply for the H1B1 visa directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You must bring the following documents to your H1B1 visa interview:

1.Certified Form ETA 9035 or 9035E, Labor Conditions Application (LCA), from the U.S. Department of Labor signed by the employer

2.Visa Application and Visa Fee Receipt: You must submit an online electronic application form, DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application and pay the appropriate Visa Fee before the interview, and bring the DS-160 Confirmation and Fee Receipt to the interview

3.Letter of Employment: Job letter from your U.S. employer specifying the details of the temporary position (including job responsibilities, salary and benefits, duration, description of the employing company, qualifications of the applicant, etc.) and confirming the employment offer

4.Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for travel to the United States with a minimum validity of six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States

5.Degree Certificate, Education Evaluation and other documents evidencing eligibility for the specialty occupation

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C. Change of Status To H1B1 If You Are Already Present In The U.S.

1.If you are already in the United States in nonimmigrant visa status which supports change of status (e.g., Visa Waiver does not support a Change of Status), and you continue to maintain your status, you may apply for a change of status to H1B1 visa.

2.To apply for a Change of Status your employer must file a Form I-129, accompanied by:

a.A Certified form ETA 9035 or 9035E, Labor Conditions Application (LCA), from the U.S. Department of Labor signed by the employer

b.Letter of Employment: Job letter from your U.S. employer specifying the details of the temporary position (including job responsibilities, salary and benefits, duration, description of the employing company, qualifications of the applicant, etc.) and confirming the employment offer

c.Degree Certificate, Education Evaluation and any other documents evidencing eligibility for the specialty occupation, and

d.Evidence that you have lawfully entered the U.S. pursuant to a valid nonimmigrant visa and have maintained status (copy of the visa, I-94 record, etc.)

Like the H-1B, there is an annual numerical cap on the number of H1B1 visas. There are 1,400 H1B1 visas available for Chileans, and 5,400 visas set aside for Singaporean nationals. Unlike the H1B, however, there has never been an H1B1 Lottery. In fact, since the creation of this visa category, the H1B1 cap has never been exhausted.

D. Duration And Extension Of Your Stay On H1B1 Visa

H1B1 visas are only valid for 18 months and the validity of the H1B1 visa cannot exceed the validity period of the Labor Condition Application (LCA). When entering the U.S., or changing status to H1B1 status, you can only be admitted for a one-year period. However, the H1B1 status can be renewed indefinitely along as you can show that you do not intend to live in the U.S. permanently.

Additionally, when H1B1 Extension of Stay is timely filed, the beneficiary will have authorization to continue working for 240 days past the expiration of the H1B1 status validity date.

One of the minor drawbacks of the H1B1 visa is that, unlike the H1B visa, the H1B1 visa does not fall under the doctrine of “dual intent”. This means that an individual in H1B1 status may not be able to extend their H1B1 status if they begin the permanent residence process. This makes it critical to carefully plan out a strategy if you wish to pursue permanent residence in the United States while on H1B1 status.

E. Spouses And Children of H1B1 Visa Holders

The spouse and children under 21 of H1B1 visa holders are eligible for derivative H4 visas. H4 visa holders are generally not eligible to work in the U.S.

F. H1B1 Visa For Chile And Singapore Citizens – Pros And Cons

  1. H1B1 visa holders do not need to obtain petition approval before obtaining H1B1 visa.
  2. H1B1 Cap has never been exhausted, therefore, there has never been an H1B1 lottery.
  3. H1B1 can be extended indefinitely as there is no 6-year maximum, as with the H1B, as long as the beneficiary can show that he/she does not intend to permanently live in the U.S.
  4. The Beneficiary does have authorization to work for 240 days past the I-94 expiration once a timely H1B1 extension of stay is filed.
  5. Employers filing an I-129 petition for H1B1 are exempt from the $500 Fraud Prevention Fee.
  1. H1B1 visa holders can only be admitted and status can only be extended in one-year increments.
  2. The H1B1 visa category lacks the protections present in dual-intent visa categories like H1B and L1.
  3. Those who intend to commence the immigrant visa process must obtain the green card before the H1B1 needs an extension, or must switch to another appropriate visa category, such as H1B.


The H1B1 visa category is a great H1B alternative for qualified professionals from Chile and Singapore. By being able to avoid the H1B Cap and H1B Lottery, employees from Chile and Singapore can be on-boarded quickly and without significant delay. Additionally, filing H1B1 visa petitions does not preclude citizens of Chile and Singapore from applying for a regular H1B visa petition.

Our immigration attorneys have successfully helped nationals of Chile and Singapore with H1B1 visas. If you have any questions regarding the H1B1 visa, or need help in applying, Schedule A Free Consultation Today >>

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