H-1B Visa: Necessary to Work In the U.S.
When a company based in the United States needs to employ a foreign worker in specialty occupations demanding theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as medicine or engineering, they can obtain an H-1B visa to lawfully bring the employer to U.S. for a maximum of six years. This is typically a faster process than applying for a green card.
At Legalize Me, our experienced and knowledgeable immigration lawyers can help your company obtain the necessary H-1B visa to bring qualified foreign staff for long-term or short-term assignments to the United States.
Annual H-1B Visa Caps
The U.S. Department of State limits the number of H-1B visas issued each year to employers. Currently, the immigration laws allow for a maximum of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be issued each government fiscal year. It is important to note that this allotment includes 65,000 new H-1B visas issued for foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation positions and an additional 20,000 visas offered to individuals holding an advanced degree from a U.S. academic institution.
Once the H-1B cap has been met, the USCIS will no longer accept H-1B petitions for that fiscal year and will not accept new applications until that April. For example, if the cap is met for FY 2013, new applications will not be accepted until April 2013.
In order to make ensure that an employer is able to obtain an H-1B visa and bring in necessary foreign worker into the U.S., they can apply as soon as six months prior to the actual date of the visa (April for the following fiscal year cap).
H-1B visas are designed to bring in foreign workers for specialty occupations in the United States. For the job to qualify for a specialty occupation, it must meet the following criteria:
- Require the employee to have at least a bachelor degree or its equivalent.
- The required level of education and degree is common for such a job or the opening is unique in that it can only be performed by an individual with such an academic degree.
- The employer generally requires a degree for all such positions, not just this one.
- The nature of the job duties is so unique or complicated that it demands the employee to have at least a bachelor degree.
Length of an H-1B Visa
A U.S. H-1B visa is generally granted for three years. However, the employer may petition to extend the length for three additional years, totaling a maximum of six years.
Additionally, if the beneficiary is holding the H-1B visa, they may also apply for and obtain a green card during their lawful stay in the United States. If they are unable to obtain permanent residency prior to the expiration of their visa, they will need to live outside the U.S. for one year prior to reapplying for another H or L visa.
As such, if you are in the U.S. with an H-1B visa, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you get permanent residency before your H-1B expires.
Need Help Obtaining a U.S. H-1B? Call Us Today!
At Legalize Me, our knowledgeable immigration lawyers can answer any questions and/or comments you may have regarding obtaining a H-1B visa to work in the United States. We are dedicated to offering the most experienced immigration support for all of our clients seeking permanent residency in the United States.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation with compassionate and experienced immigration attorney Michael S. Carrillo, call Legalize Me toll free at 626.799.9379.