H-1B is a non-immigrant visa issued to skilled workers in specialty occupations to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.
Requirements for the foreign national worker
The foreign national must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalency. If the degree is acquired from an educational institution located outside of the U.S., the degree must be evaluated by a US certificated evaluation agency to determine if it is comparable to a degree awarded in the U.S. When the applicant does not have a minimum bachelor degree, work experience may be substituted. Generally, 3 years of related professional experience equals one year of college education.
H-1B is approved for an initial 3 years and may be renewed for another 3 years. The maximum period for a valid H-1B status is 6 years. After the 6 years, the H-1B holder must depart from the U.S. for at least 1 year to become eligible for another H-1B. However, an H-1B holder who has applied for the employment based immigration and received approval notice while waiting for the visa number to become available, including self-petitioned National Interest Waiver and Aliens with Extraordinary Ability, may petition to extend her H-1B beyond 6 years.
There is a “standard cap” of 65,000 H-1B slots on an annual basis. There is also an “advanced degree cap” of 20,000 applicants with U.S. earned master degree or higher, who will be exempted from the “standard cap” pool. Certain H-1B applicants are not subject to the cap limitation, for instance, when the employer is a institute of higher education, research institute or nonprofit organization.
When an H-1B needs to be amended
A new or amended petition must be filed when substantial changes occur to the employer and/or H-1B holder, for instance, there is change to the person’s duties from one speciality to another, there is a material change in the terms and conditions of the employment.
Change of status
An H-1B visa holder cannot automatically adjust to permanent residence status. The employer sponsor has to file an employment based immigration petition for the H-1B holder, or the foreign national may self-petition under a National Interest Waiver or Aliens with Extraordinary Ability.
Spouses and minor children may petition for H-4 visa as H-1B holder’s dependents. They are permitted to attend school; however, they are not allowed to work during the time they remain in the U.S unless they change their status to other non-immigrant categories that permit employment.
How Can we Help with Your H-1B Visa
- We will meet with your employer to assess the feasibility for an H-1B application based on the your credentials, experience, nature of the position and employer’s specific needs.
- If we find the foreign national will qualify for an H-1B, we will obtain the prevailing wage determination (PWD) for the job from a State Workforce Agency (SWA) or a private survey agency.
- We will guide the employer to collect documents required for the H-1 and H-4 applications if applicable.
- We will file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and obtain approval from the Department of Labor.
- We will complete USCIS’s H-1B forms.
- We will draft the petition letter on behalf of the employer.
- We will submit the completed and signed H-1B petition materials to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
- We will keep the employer notified of the application status.