1. What Is H-1B Work Visa?
The H-1B specialty workers visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter into the U.S. and perform services in a prearranged professional job. The job must be in a ‘specialty occupation’ and must require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum for entry into the field.
Note: The H-1B work visa allows an organization with an IRS Tax Number/ Federal Employer Identification Number to employ a foreign national for up to six years.
2. What Is 'Specialty Occupation' For The Purposes of H-1B Visa?
A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
Note: Architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations. ‘cap gap’ rules that apply to F-1 students whose H-1B petition was filed before their OPT expired.
3. How Do I Qualify For H-1B Visa?
To qualify for H-1B visa, you must:
- Demonstrate that you have the ability to work in the specialty occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge
- Be coming to the U.S. to earn money or a livelihood working in a professional capacity, and not for pursuing a hobby, for pass time, giving free advice or humanitarian service
- Seek temporary entry into the U.S.
- Have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in work experience. The USCIS may accept three years of work experience for each year of missing university education. This may be considered the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree
Note: This classification also applies to Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense
4. What Are The Benefits of H-1B Visas?
The benefits of H-1B visa are:
- Multiple H-1B visas: In most cases, there are no limits to the number of H-1B visas an individual may have in their lifetime
- Green Card: The H-1B professionals may simultaneously seek Lawful Permanent Residency or a Green Card for themselves and for their family
- Cost of early dismissal: The employer must agree to pay the foreign national the reasonable cost of transportation to go back to his/her home country if the employer terminates employment prior to the end of the authorized employment period. The foreign national will then go back to his/her home country. Normally, this is not a problem since the foreign national usually desires to stay in the U.S. and changes into another nonimmigrant status
- If you change jobs you must reapply for a new visa, under the new position. This does not mean that you have another six years. The H category visa allows you to stay in the country for six years, regardless of whether you changed employers during this period. Those who arrived in the country on H-4 visas, and converted to H-1B status, will have six years from the date they changed to H-1B.
5. What Are The Limitations of H-1B Visas?
The limitations of H-1B visa are:
1. Temporary Duration: 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
2. The H-1B Cap: An annual numerical limit is imposed on the number of H-1B visas issued during a fiscal year. Currently the cap is 65,000. However, the quota only applies to new H-1B applications, and does not apply to H-1B status holders who are seeking extensions or change of employer