Employment in the U.S. is a very fundamental subject in immigration law. Each year, many people from all around the world apply for visas to work in the U.S. And U.S. has various visa options with differing conditions and requirements for potential employees. Here in this writing, we will cover the H-1B visa as it is one of the most common non-immigrant work visas today.
What is H1-B Visa?
H-1B visa, or Person in Specialty Occupation visa, is a nonimmigrant visa for professionals who seek specialty jobs in the US. H1-B visa requires visa applicants that have a higher education degree or its equivalent. This entails bachelor’s or higher degrees such as MA’s or Ph.D. You can apply for H1-B visa coming from numerable professional work fields including but not limited to IT, architecture, law, finance, and medicine.
H1-B Visa Eligibility
H1-B visas are issued to non-U.S. citizen applicants if and only there are no citizen candidates for the job position you apply for. Therefore, your employer must prove that your employment cannot be compensated by a U.S. citizen. Moreover, applicants have to have a valid employer and a job offer. Your employer will also act as your sponsor for your H1-B visa application. Lastly, as the H1-B visa is a specialty visa, you are required to present proof of your bachelor’s or its equivalent degree.
H1-B Visa Cap
H1-B visa is unfortunately subjected to a quota. The current number per fiscal year is 65.000. However, if you are a master’s or higher degree graduate of a U.S. institution, there is an extra 20.000 quota for you. And if your sponsor is a higher education institution, a nonprofit organization working under a higher education institution, or a government research initiative, you should not worry about the limited quota at all!
If you were previously issued an H1-B visa and did not exceed the six-year limit on it, you are exempt from the quota when reapplying for H1-B visa extension. This is also valid for applicants who left the U.S. and currently work outside but still within the six years of H1-B visa validity. And if you like to change your employer while you are in the initial 3 years duration of your H1-B visa, you can do so without being subjected to a visa cap!
H1-B Application Process
To start with your application, you first need to register with the H1-B lottery. H1-B lottery registration process usually starts at the beginning of March and continues until the third week of the month. To participate in the H1-B lottery, you need to create an applicant account on myUSCIS website. The lottery results are generally declared in a week. If you are selected from the lottery, the application proceeds with your employer’s submission of the Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). This is a precautionary step mandated by DOL to make sure that your employer will pay you and the other equally qualified workers the same wage. If LCA is approved by DOL, your employer will file the Form I-129 petition along with LCA to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once your I-129 form is approved, you can start your online application. The online application requires you to fill in the Form DS-160. Following this, you need to schedule an interview with a U.S. embassy or consulate in your area. And there are several documents you must make ready before
- Your Passport
- A printout of your DS-160’s confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt
- A photo of yourself
This is required if you have failed to upload your photo during the online application.
- Receipt number
This can be found either on your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) or on Notice of Action (Form I-797). Both forms will be available on your application portal on USCIS’s website.
H1-B Visa Duration and Extension
H1-B visa duration varies from applicant to applicant. However, you can be issued a visa valid for up to three years. And your period of stay may be extended to a maximum of three years. But there are some exceptions to this rule. For further information please see this page.
H1-B visa is a perfect option for people who have specialty jobs outside and want to transfer their abilities to the U.S. But you should not be discouraged if you believe that you are the right candidate for H1-B visa and continue working towards your end goal!
We provide exceptional service for clients wishing to obtain their H1-B visa with our unique understanding of both you and the job sector you aspire to work in the U.S. For any inquires relating to application preparation, application process, and visa issuance, please do not hesitate to contact us!