Requirements, Benefits, Limitations and Forms
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa given to foreign citizens working in the U.S. This is a temporary work visa that allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers particularly in specialized occupations such as engineering, entertainment, science, medicine and education as well as several others. The H-1B visa is dependent upon the active employment of the non-immigrant employee.Benefits of the H-1B Visa
- Holders of the H-1B visa may also apply for an adjustment of status such as permanent residency or a green card.
- If the visa holder is terminated prior to the end of a work agreement, the employer must pay for transportation back to the employees country of origin.
- The general length of stay is 3 years with the ability to extend it to 6 years total.
- You may also bring your dependents, such as a spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. They will be entitled to the H-4 visa. They will not be allowed to hold employment but may attend school.
- If for any reason the visa holder is terminated or quits, they must either find another employment sponsor, apply for a change for status or leave the U.S.
- The total number of visas allowed for the H-1B is 65,000 per fiscal year. Although this number is high, all visas were taken within the first three months of the FY2010 registration date.
- If you change employers, you must apply for a new H-1B visa with the new employers information.
- A US employer must sponsor the H-1B petition. The individual may not apply.
- Process times are generally 3 to 6 months.
- The petitioning employer must demonstrate that the position is a specialty occupation requiring a specialized professional.
- The potential employer must also show that the intended candidate meets the required qualifications.
- The candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) from an accredited college or university. In some cases, training and work experience could be used as an equivalent.
- Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Attestation (LCA), must be filed by the employer with the Department of Labor (DOL). This document states that the employer was not able to find a US citizen qualified for the job and assures the DOL that you will be provided a fair salary and benefits.
- Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, and an approved LCA must then be filed by the employer with the USCIS office in the city of the intended employment.
- Once approved, the employer then receives form I-797 giving authorization to the employee.
Given the high stakes of the outcome of your H-1B visa application, it is important to understand your rights and your obligations under the law. If you are ready to begin the application process or have questions then contact us today to schedule a call or a meeting. We are more than happy to call you wherever you are in the world at no cost to you.