H-1b and Public School Exemptions

H-1b Visas for Teachers and School Districts

Now that the H-1b lottery excitment has died down, who can still get an H-1b without going through the lottery?  Teachers working for Public School Districts, that’s who!  

Many school districts suffer from a nationwide teaching shortage and are increasingly turning to qualified foreign national teachers to fill open positions. But fear not!  USCIS H-1b regulations allow certain public school districts to avoid the annual H-1B lottery and file petitions through the year, which has helped reduce the limitations on hiring qualified teachers in public schools.

In order to be eligible, the school must have entered into a formal, written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher eduction.  This is often in the form of an MOU.  

In order to qualify as a Cap Exempt Organization you must be able to present evidence that the “nonprofit entity (School District) has entered into a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education that establishes an active working relationship between the nonprofit entity and the institution of higher education for the purposes of research or education, and a fundamental activity of the nonprofit entity is to directly contribute to the research or education mission of the institution of higher education.”

Dual Enrollment Agreements between districts and a college or university, under which students may obtain college and high school credit for taking specific courses, typically meet the affiliation agreement requirement.

Note: You cannot transfer an H-1b from a cap-exempt public school, to a non-cap exempt public school without going through the H-1b lottery!

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