H1B Visa

The H1B visa is a temporary or non-immigrant “specialty occupation” US visa, which means the holder is employed in a position that requires specialized skills or knowledge.

Jobs that suit the H1B visa typically need a university degree or equivalent (which can mean 3 years’ work experience for each year that would normally be spent at university). The position should be one that would normally require that level of experience.

H1B visa for specialty occupationsThe H1B is valid for three years, with one possible additional three-year extension, making six years’ maximum stay in total.

Any H1B visa application must be sponsored by a valid company. So the individual must have an offer of work, education, or internship prior to submitting the application.

The H1B Cap

USCIS normally issue a maximum of 65,000 regular H1B visas each year, with some exceptions:

  1. The first 20,000 visas awarded to people who hold master’s degrees or higher do not count against the limit.
  2. Visas for people entering the US to work in higher education or in affiliated research/non-profit organizations may also be exempt from the cap.
  3. 6800 visas are normally reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore, under the special H1-B1 visa. This number is deducted from the total (65,000 regular plus 20,000 masters’) visa allocation.

Because of the strict limits, visas are granted on a lottery basis. This means there is no guarantee that, even if you qualify, you will be awarded your H1B. (Of course, if you do not apply, you cannot win the lottery.)

Be aware that  236,000 petitions for H1B visas were submitted in the 2016 window, and the lottery allocation was completed on April 9, 2016. That means there were 2.7 applications for each visa granted.

We recommend you speak to one of our attorneys for advice on the H1B cap.

How to Get H1B Visa

Because of the limited number of visas issued, there is a specific window for applications, which usually starts on April 1st for the fiscal year starting October 1st of the following year. So you can apply from April 1st, 2017 for entry in the year starting October 1st, 2018.

Specialized fields for H1B Visas

may include (but are not limited to) the following. If your area of work is not in one of the fields of work listed below, please contact us and we will be happy to advise.

  • accountancy
  • architecture
  • arts
  • computer programming

  • education
  • engineering
  • international business management
  • journalism

  • law
  • mathematics
  • medicine / health
  • modeling
  • nursing

  • research
  • sciences
  • social sciences
  • theology

Labor Condition Application

A further condition to H1B applications is that the employer must assure that it will pay the H1B holder a comparable wage to other workers who have similar qualifications. This is known as the prevailing wage.

Determining the prevailing wage can be difficult, and is one of the most common areas where an H1B application can be held up, so you are advised to get advice from an attorney as early as possible in the process.

Advice for H1B Applicants

Online Visas’ founder Jon Velie gives some tips on your H1B strategy, including credentialing, prevailing wage, and the lottery.

How to Apply

Here are the steps involved in applying for your H1-B visa:

  1. You must accept a job that meets the above mentioned requirements.
  2. You must meet one of the following prerequisites:
    • Have completed a bachelors degree or higher in the field of the specialty occupation from an accredited university.
    • Hold a foreign degree which is equivalent to a bachelors degree or higher in the field of the specialty occupation.
    • Hold an unrestricted state license registration or certification in the field of the specialty occupation in the intended state of employment.
    • Have verifiable and recognized education, experience, or training in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of a bachelors degree or higher.
  3. Contact Online Visas to arrange a free strategy session with one of our attorneys. We will discuss your options and costs, and help you decide on the best way forward.

Possible Alternatives to the H1B Visa

People who may be eligible for the H1-B may also be eligible for:

  • the TN visa (for citizens of Canada or Mexico);
  • the E3 (for citizens of Australia);
  • O1 (extraordinary ability in a wide range of fields);
  • L1 visa (if they have been employed overseas for at least one continuous twelve-month period within the last three years);
  • The E1 (treaty trader) or E2 (treaty investor) visas may also be worth looking into.

Green Cards

Many H1-B holders apply for Labor Certification Green Cards under EB2 or EB3 categories.

If considering a green card application, note that there is a rule that dictates that, if a green card application is submitted prior to the end of the 5th year on H1-B, the H1-B holder can continue to extend the H1-B in one-year increments.

For those who gain extraordinary skills during their stay, they may become suitable for the EB1-1 (exceptional ability).

If a person has access to sufficient funds, they may consider applying for the EB-5 “Investor Green Card”, however note that the investment must be the applicant’s own money and may not be borrowed.

H1B Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I stay in the US on an H1B visa and be self-employed?

A: No You cannot be self-employed under an H1B visa. You must be employed by a US-based sponsoring company.

Q: Can my degree be issued by any university?

A: Yes, in principle, however you may need to have your credentials evaluated by an approved organization. We can advise and help with this.

Q: What is credential evaluation?

A: This is simply the process of assessing to what extent education or work experience gained outside the United States is equivalent to similar experience in the US. Foreign education may be evaluated by evaluators outside the US, but work experience gained in other countries must be supported with documentation.

Q: Is there a minimum length of degree study?

A: To qualify for the H1B, you typically need minimum four years of study on a degree course. If you have completed more than one degree, it may be possible to combine the time spent on multiple degree-level courses. You may also use a combination of university study plus progressive work experience.

Q: What does “progressive” experience mean?

A: The USCIS has not specified exactly what is meant by “progressive” but you can take it to mean that your work must have required continual advancement over time.

Q: I do not have a degree. Can I still qualify for an H1B visa?

A: Yes. If you have relevant work experience in you speciality field, you may qualify with equivalent experience. You will normally need three years’ work experience per one year of degree study, so typically twelve years’ minimum.

Q: Can I bring my family with me to the United States?

A: Yes, your immediate family (i.e. spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21) may accompany you to the US under an H4 visa. They will be permitted to study but not work in the United States.

Q: Is it possible to stay longer than 6 years on an H1B visa?

A: No, the H1B itself is strictly limited to the initial 3 years plus possible 3-year extension. However you may be able to stay longer if you apply for permanent residency (Green Card) while holding an H-1B visa.  But, it is important you apply for the Green Card by the end of year 2 of your extension.

 

Leave a Comment:

28 comments
Amit Varshney says January 24, 2017

I want take your expert opinion to submit my H1B request.

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Surely!

    I will e-mail you and we can brainstorm strategy together!

    Reply
Pragati Sandeep chonkar says February 4, 2017

This information was really helpful..thanks

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Surely! Let us know how we can best help you in the future!

    Reply
sharma kumar harmesh says February 6, 2017

Dear Sir/Madam My daughter done masters in U S & looking forward for H1B or
green card,please advise (help) how to move forward & your fees.
Thanks & Regards
sharma

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Wonderful, and congratulations to you and your daughter!

    I will e-mail you how we, together, may best obtain a visa for her.

    Reply
Nishit says February 8, 2017

i wnant some information regarding J-1 Visa. if you can help me whit this. thank you.

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Sure thing!

    I will go ahead and shoot you an e-mail right now regarding your inquiries and how you may best obtain a J-1 Visa!

    Reply
Vikram says February 15, 2017

Do you sponsor for H1B visa?

Reply
Krishna Das Banerjee says February 17, 2017

my Daughter is in CA lax having M Sc. B Tech and UCLA EXTENSION CERTIFICATE COURSE FOT MARKETING AND BUSINESS COMPLETED.WORKING INI A MARKETING COMPANY.IS SHE ILLEGIBLE TO APPLY HB1 VISA IN MARCH 2017. HOW LONG OTP VISA MAY BE EXTENDED.PLEASE ADVICE.

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Thank you for reaching out to us!

    I will e-mail you in how we may best aid your daughter!

    Reply
Mr ANYIA FRANCIS says February 18, 2017

I am a licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist based in Nigeria, Africa. I have about 10 years working experience. I can also concluded my Masters of science degree in Medical Laboratory Science in a Nigerian University. I am interested Relocating to the United States of America by getting a Work Sponsorship. I pray your support and counseling on how to get a Medical Laboratory Scientist Work Sponsorship.
Thanks
Mr ANYIA FRANCIS
Department of Chemical Pathology,
University of Port Harcourt,
Rivers state,
Nigeria.

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Hello Mr. Francis!

    Wow, congratulations on all of your accolades! I will e-mail you in regards to how we may best work together.

    I understand you may be looking, and we are happy to help your potential employer through the US immigration visa process. However, we are not a job location company. One option to consider is Foreign Staffing Inc, which tries to match international employers and job seekers.

    FSI web site is http://www.foreignstaffing.com/employers/foreign-staffing-global-services/foreign-job-search/

    Please let me know if you are able to find a sponsor and I wish you the best of look! It sounds like your resume and education is on par!

    Reply
Raja Qasim Ali says February 20, 2017

Hy,I am behalf on visit visa stay in Dubai,but I have job letter us company, I want to apply in Dubai h1b visa,possible us embassy got me h1b visa?

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says February 23, 2017

    Hello Raja!

    The Online Visas team will be e-mailing you in regards to your H-1B inquiries.

    Cheers!

    Reply
Kamal Ahmed says February 27, 2017

Hi Team,

I am Kamal Ahmed, I have got 13 years of experience in F&A domain in finance and accounts

I want to apply for the H1B Visa and need your assistance.

I am commerce graduate and also PDBA ( Finance )

Regards
Kamal
9871877786

Reply
Manjeet says March 3, 2017

Really helpful knowledge and now a want a sponsor from the company side

Reply
Khurshida Akther says March 5, 2017

It’s an excellent discussion. I would like to apply for the rye of visa in Australia

Reply
ramya says March 10, 2017

Hii sir…my husband got the H1 last year 2016.he study MS in US.but he did not came to India with H1 stamping…because of now the situation is very difficult in USA…can u pleas advice is this right time of his coming to India purpose of stamping??

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says March 10, 2017

    Ramya,

    Thank you for your question! I will send you an e-mail so we can set up a time to speak with an attorney as soon as possible!

    Thanks!
    Parker, Online Visas

    Reply
Ganga tmg says March 21, 2017

Good

Reply
Asima Jabeen says March 24, 2017

It’s amazing information. Thank you

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says March 30, 2017

    We are glad to help!

    Please feel free to e-mail or call if you have any questions, thanks Asima!

    Parker

    Reply
Dennys says March 30, 2017

Dear,

I’m psychologist and I live in Peru. I would like to know if I’m eligible to apply for an H1B visa for working in the human resources area in a company. I already worked for that company before with a J1 visa in the work and travel program and the employer would be agree to sponsor me.

Please let me know if me and my sponsor are eligible for this type of visa.

Thanks a lot

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says April 4, 2017

    Allow me to e-mail you so we can discuss your case further and see how quickly we might be able to help!

    We appreciate your time and hope to help ASAP!

    Parker

    Reply
Goapaal L Megani says April 3, 2017

I have got the mail from one of the agency and they are asking INR 250 thousand for Restaurant manager job provides in Orlando USA .what should I do? kindly advise. Thanks and Regards

Reply
    OnlineVisas.com says April 4, 2017

    Hi Goapaal!

    Let me send you an e-mail so we can further discuss your interests.

    Thanks!
    Parker

    Reply
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