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H-1B Visa

General information

 

The H1B visa program allows US employers to file for a temporary (non-immigrant) visa for an employee that meets certain educational and occupational standards. The minimum requirement for an H1B visa is that the employee have a Bachelor's degree (from either a US or foreign university) and that the job offered is a specialty occupation, meaning that it requires at least a Bachelor's degre in a field related to the position. It is also possible for a prospective employee that lacks a Bachelor's degree to be found to have the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree using a combination of experience and education. H1B visas are generally obtained in three-year increments. The visa may be extended up to six-years maximum. However, if the employee has a labor certification application on file, it is possible to extend the H1B visa beyond the six-year limit. H1B visas are fairly flexible. They allow for part-time employment under the visa, employment with multiple employers (although this requires multiple H1B visas to be filed), and movement to a new employer upon filing of a new H1B visa.Except for cap exempt categories, such as transfers, extensions, and certain types of employers. H1B visas are limited in number so it is important to begin exploring the process as soon as possible. Many H1B visa holders proceed with the "labor certification" process while here on an H1B visa and are granted Permanent Resident status before their H1B status expires. Contact our office with any questions. We offer free email or phone consultations and can help you successfully meet the legal and technical requirements of the H1B visa.

 

Annual Cap & Cap exempt
There are only a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas available per year. 20,000 of those are reserved for individuals who have a master's degree or higher for a U.S. educational institutional. If an individual has been counted against the cap in the last 6 years they do not need to be counted again, even if they transfer employers.
Visas that are cap exempt are:
Teachers, professors and others offered a positoin at an institution of higher education.
Researchers at an instituted of higher education or a non-profit research institution affiliated with an institute of higher education or a government research agency.
J-1 waiver recipients through a State 30 program.

 

 
specialty occupation
A common starting point for determining whether or not an H1B visa is a viable option is to determine if the position is a "specialty occupation" as required.A "specialty occupation" is defined by the USCIS as an occupation that "requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent". What this generally means is that the position should be one that not just anyone can do. Examples of acceptable positions include positions that require degrees in computer science or IT, architecture, accountancy, law, medicine, or business. If the position requires a specific degree but the applicant does not have that degree, years of experience in the same field which gives the applicant the equivalent of a degree in that field may be used.
 
justin@jrandolphlaw.com