Many foreign nationals in professional occupations begin their work in the United States through an H-1B visa. This visa is initially issued for three years, and may be renewed once for another three years.
Our attorneys have successfully filed hundreds of H-1B visa applications, H1-B visa change of employer applications, H-1B visa extensions, and H-1B visa amended applications for individuals and corporate clients. We have filed visas for doctors, post-doctorate students, scientists, businessmen, marketing researchers, IT professionals (computer programmer, system analysts, software engineers, database administrator, etc), graphic designers, various engineers (mechanical, chemical), health care professionals, start-up companies, and more.
There is a statutory limit on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued each year. Currently 65,000 H-1B visas are issued each fiscal year, plus an additional 20,000 visas for people with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
Frequently Asked Questions about H-1B Visas
What are the Requirements for the H-1B Visa?
- The visa is applied for by the employer.
- The employer must pay the prevailing wage for the position.
- H-1B Visas are typically issued to “professionals” that the USCIS defines as a person with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
- The job that an H-1B visa holder performs must be a professional or “specialty occupation.”
What are the Limitations of an H-1B Visa?
Because of the H-1B visa’s temporary nature, individuals who seek H-1B visa must have the intent to remain in the U.S. only temporarily. However, individuals who seek H-1B visas need not maintain a foreign residence and may later petition for Lawful Permanent Residence. If a petition for Lawful Permanent Residence is not made or the petition for Lawful Permanent Residence is denied, the H-1B worker will be required to return to his/her home country at the end of the authorized employment period.
How does the H-1B Visa Quota System Work?
Each October 1st, the USCIS makes available a certain number of H-1B visas for the next 12 months.
The Quota for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 (October 1st, 2008 to September 30th, 2009) is 65,000. There is also a quota of 20,000 for US Master Degree Holders, effectively making the quota 85,000.
What is the Processing Time for an H-1B Visa?
The H-1B processing time varies because all cases are different. Generally it takes between three to six months to process an H-1B visa.
What is a Specialty Occupation?
The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum.
What is the Difference between H-1B status and H-1B visa?
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. H-1B status is a non-immigrant status issued by the USCIS to foreign nationals already residing in the U.S. or upon entry with an H-1B visa. Legal status allows you to stay legally within the U.S. while a visa allows you to seek entry into the U.S. legally.
What is the New “Displacement” or “No lay-off” Attestation Rule?
There are two new ‘displacement’ attestations that apply to H-1B dependent employers:
The first requires the employer to attest that he did not displace and will not displace a U.S. worker employed by the employer within the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the filing of the H-1B petition based on the Labor Condition Application.
The second requires the employer to attest that he will not place the H-1B worker with another employer where:
- The H-1B worker performs duties in whole or in part at one or more worksites owned, operated and controlled by the other employer.
- There are employment relationships with the other employer, unless the petitioning employer has inquired of the other employer and has no knowledge that the other employer has displaced or intends to displace another U.S. worker.