INS Provides guidance on Social Security Number and H-1B Petitions

Washington: The Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) issued a memorandum to provide field offices with guidance on the adjudication of H-1B petitions where the beneficiary is unable to obtain a state license because he or she is not in possession of a social security card.

According to the regulations of social security Administration (SSA), an H-1B alien is not able to obtain a social security card unless they are physically present in the United States. There are cases where some H-1B petitions in these cases have been denied because the alien beneficiary has not received his or her license.

This issue has arisen regarding the adjudication of H-1B petitions filed for certain public high school teachers. In the case of the teachers, the INS has been receiving H-1B petitions filed on behalf of public school teachers that are not supported by the required license. The teachers are unable to obtain licensure solely because they cannot obtain a social security card because they are not physically present in the U.S.

To accommodate the needs of H-1B petitioners, INS officers involved in the adjudication of H-1B petitions are given the following guidance.

An H-1B petition filed on behalf of an alien beneficiary who does not have a valid state license shall be approved for a period of 1 year provided that the only obstacle to obtaining state licensure is the fact that the alien cannot obtain a social security card from the SSA. Petitions filed must clearly state that the only obstacle to the issuance of state licensure is the lack of a social security card. The Petitioner must establish that all the regulatory and statutory requirements for the occupation have been met. The Adjudicator should determine the alien files the required license, else the application should be denied.

INS officers should continue to approve H petitions that require state licensure when the only obstacle to obtaining the license is the alien’s lack of physical presence.

If additional information required, please contact Adjudications Officer John W Brown at 202-616-7435.

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