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H-1B2 visa (DoD Researcher and Development Project Worker Visa)

Foreign nationals who are specially selected by the Department of Defense (DoD) to temporarily enter the United States to perform exceptional services related to cooperative research and/or a development project governed by the DoD may be eligible for the H-1B2 visa.

If you need assistance or expert legal advice regarding your H-1B2 visa application, contact us today at +1 844 290 6312. We can match you with the best immigration lawyer to help you with whatever you may need.

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What is the H-1B2 visa?

The H-1B2 nonimmigrant visa is part of the H-1B visa category meant for individuals in a specialty occupation who would like to temporarily enter the United States for intended employment. The H-1B2 visa is particularly designed for foreign workers with extraordinary skills who are working on research or a cooperative and development project under the supervision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD).

Other visas in the H-1B visa category include the following:

  • H-1B Specialty Occupation (for those who work in specialty occupations that require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge)
  • H-1B3 Fashion Model (for models of distinguished merit and ability)

The H-1B2 visa is highly competitive with only about 100 visas issued each year.

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Who is eligible for the H-1B2 visa?

This temporary work visa is open to foreign workers who can perform services that a U.S. citizen can not in the field of cooperative research and/or development projects which are supervised and governed by the United States Department of Defense. Furthermore, these individuals must have the following in order to qualify for an H-1B2 visa:

  • The applicant has been accepted into a job that requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher (or an equivalent foreign degree)
  • The applicant is able to provide a verification letter from the Department of Defense (DoD) project manager stating that the applicant will be working on a cooperative research and development project or coproduction project that is under a reciprocal government to government agreement
  • The applicant is able to submit a general description of their duties on this particular project (with a start date of intended employment included)
  • The applicant is able to submit a statement listing the name of all non-U.S. citizens who are currently employed on the project (along with the start date of their intended employment). Any other non-U.S. citizen employees whose employment ended in the past year on the project must also be included on this list.
  • The applicant possesses a Bachelor’s degree or higher (or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution) in their specialty occupation or possesses an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that allows you to fully practice the specialty occupation
  • Have recognized training, education, or progressively responsible experience in their specialty occupation that is equivalent to completing such a degree necessary for the position

Unlike the H-1B1 visa, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) will not be needed for the DoD Researcher and Development Project Worker Visa.

What is the application process for the H-1B2 visa?

After a position has been offered and accepted by a foreign national to work on a specific project by the Department of Defense, the DoD will then need to file a petition for the H-1B2 visa. To apply for an H-1B2 visa, the Department of Defense will first to need file Form I-129(Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with Form I-129, the Dod will also need to submit the following documents:

  • A statement from the DoD describing the job role along with evidence that it requires an H-1B2 foreign workers
  • A statement from the Dod detailing all non-permanent residents who have been employed by this DoD project within the past year (along with dates of employment)
  • All relevant documents that prove that the foreign worker has the necessary qualifications

After Form I-129 is approved, the visa applicant will then need to proceed with consular processing if he/she is outside the United States. The applicant will then need to fill out Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application). This is an online form that will ask the applicant questions regarding their background, education, work experience, and reasons for wanting to enter the United States. After this form is completed, the applicant will be shown a confirmation page complete with a confirmation number. It is important that this confirmation page is printed out as it will need to be submitted later in the application process.

After the applicant has submitted the DS-160 form online, he/she will then be asked to schedule and attend a visa interview at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After the visa interview, the foreign worker will then receive a decision regarding whether or not their H-1B2 visa has been approved.

If the applicant is already in the United States when their I-129 Form is approved, their visa status will automatically change when they start working for the Department of Defense (DoD).

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What documents are required for the H-1B2 petition?

When the Department of Defense (DoD) files the I-129 petition for the foreign worker, they will need to submit the following relevant documents:

  • A letter from the DoD verifying that the applicant has been offered and accepted a job working for cooperative research and development project or a coproduction project under a reciprocal Government-to-Government agreement that is under the administration of the DoD. Details regarding the specific project are not required.
  • A statement providing the descriptions of the proposed employment with starting dates of the employee
  • A statement detailing and listing the names of all other non-U.S. citizens who have also been employed on the project along with their start dates (including all those who have worked on the project within the past year)
  • Relevant documents that show the applicant is qualified to work on the project (ex. copies of Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or any other documents which should that the applicant has received relevant training or has the necessary work experience)

What documents are needed for consular processing?

After Form I-129 is approved, the foreign worker will need to undergo consular processing in order to have their H-1B2 approved (if they are abroad at the time). The following documents may need to be submitted at the visa interview:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least 6 months after intended travel)
  • Visa interview confirmation page
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • A copy of the I-129 petition submitted by their employer to the USCIS
  • The I-797 (Notice of Action) approval notice from USCIS
  • Receipts of visa fee payments
  • Any relevant documents supporting your application (copies of degrees, relevant certifications, an updated CV, work contracts, etc)
  • A photograph (if you were unable to upload a digital photo to the DS-160 Form)

For a more detailed list of what documents will need to be submitted, contact an experienced immigration lawyer for more information.

If you have any questions about your visa application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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How long is the H-1B2 visa valid?

Unlike other H-1B visas where a non-immigrant worker can stay in the United States for up to three years, the H-1B2 visa is valid for up to 10 years. Foreign workers can extend their non-immigrant visas by applying for an extension which is granted in 2-year increments. Extention applications should include a letter from the DoD project manager stating the reasons for an extension and the worker’s duties.

researcher at work

What is the cost of the H-1B2 visa?

According to U.S. immigration law, employers who are sponsoring a foreign worker in the H-1B visa category are responsible for paying all fees associated with filing for an H-1B2 petition. Sponsored employees will only need to pay for the application fee if they undergo consular processing at a U.S. embassy in their home country.

Additional costs such as premium processing fees and immigration attorney fees can be paid for by either the employer or employee. The following is a list of fees associated with the H-1B2 application process:

  • Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker): $460 (Paid for by the Department of Defense)
  • Consular Processing (Form DS-160): $190
  • Premium Processing Fee (Optional):$2,500 (Can also be paid for by the Employer)
  • Immigration Attorney Fee (Optional): Cost will vary (Can also be paid for by the Employer)

What is the processing time for the H-1B2 visa?

The processing time for the H-1B2 visa will normally depend on if there is any backlog at the USCIS. Normally, most I-129 Forms are processed within 6 months followed by consular processing. The amount of time it takes to have a visa issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will also depend on that particular embassy or consulate’s workload and backlog. Most non-immigrant work visas are processed in 3-5 weeks.

Anyone who would like to speed up the processing time can apply for premium processing which can process a petition within 15 days. To apply for premium processing, the sponsor must submit Form I-907 with Form I-129 and pay $2,500 for the premium processing fee.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Spouses and dependent children (unmarried children under the age of 21) of the H-1B2 visa holder may be able to join their spouse or parent in the United States under H4 visa status. While in the United States, dependent children may attend school and spouses are eligible to work if they file and are approved for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Both spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to stay in the United States under an H4 visa for as long as the associated H-1B2 visa is valid.

H-1B visas are subject to a yearly cap of 85,000 visas issued each year. However, this limitation does not apply if the sponsoring employer is a government research organization or a non-profit organization that is connected to an institute of higher education.

It should be noted that the H-1B2 visa is highly competitive with a yearly cap of 100 visas issued each year.

Our team of immigration attorneys is well-skilled at navigating the complicated world of the U.S. immigration system. We can offer you a premium service that is tailored to your needs with an attorney-client relationship that you can trust and rely upon.

Our immigration lawyers can help with the following legal services:

  • Liaising with you and your sponsor regarding your visa application
  • Completing your I-129 Petition to the highest standards
  • Confirming that you have adequate competence consistent with the one requested by your role in the United States
  • Helping with Request for Evidence (if applicable)

Contact us today to find out how we can best help you. Give us a call at +1 844 290 6312 or leave a message online. We are here to help you online, over the phone, or in person.