H-1B Visas

Visas for persons who have already secured a job offer in the U.S. in special occupations.
The H-1B visa is designated for person who has secured an offer of employment from a U.S. employer, working in specialty occupations.

H-1B REQUIREMENTS


The position should require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific or related field, and the Applicant must have completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a field of study related to the position. If the Applicant obtained the degree overseas, or it is not a four-year bachelor’s degree, an education evaluation must be completed to verify that through education or experience the Applicant has the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. One of the final requirements is that the wages for the position offered, must meet the minimum prevailing wage requirements.

LENGTH OF A VISA


The initial period of stay for an H-1B visa holder in the U.S. is typically three years. After the initial period, the employer may file a renewal or extension for the H-1B employee, which will extend the stay by up to three more years. Although this is a non-immigrant visa, it is possible to adjust one’s status to that of a lawful permanent resident if certain conditions are met.

THE H-1B LOTTERY


H-1B petitions (see exceptions below) is subject an annual visa lottery, and each year the government issues 85,000 total visas to be given out. This number is broken down into two groups, with 20,000 visas been reserved for H-1B beneficiaries with master’s degrees or higher, and 65,000 are for other applicants.
Prospective employers seeking to file H-1B petitions, including for beneficiaries eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must electronically register and pay a nominal fee for each visa beneficiary. The USCIS will open an initial registration period for a minimum of 14 calendar days each fiscal year. The H-1B selection process will then be run on properly submitted electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. Selections will take place after the initial registration period closes, so there is no requirement to register on the day the initial registration period opens.

H-1B ‘CAP-EXEMPTION’


In this visa category there are a certain number of visas allotted each year, but depending on the position, there may be an exemption from the H-1B cap.
These include:
  • Institutions of higher education.
  • Non-profit research organizations.
  • Government research organizations.
  • Primary or secondary education institutions.
  • Non-profit entities that engage in established curriculum-related clinical training.

Further examples where cap-exemptions may apply, include petitions to change employer, extensions with the same employer, amendment petitions with no request for extension, and corrections of a previously approved H-1B with USCIS processing errors. In the vast majority of these situations the recipient would have already secured their H-1B status.
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