The H-1B visa allows a foreign national to temporarily work in the United States for a maximum of 6 years. However, an employer can only request a total of 3 years on any given H-1B petition. Current laws limit the number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-1B visa or otherwise be provided H-1B status to 65,000 annually, with an additional 20,000 under the H-1B advanced degree exemption for individuals who graduate from U.S. universities with a master’s degree or higher. An individual who has previously been granted H-1B status is generally exempt from this limitation.
- The H-1B visa applicant needs to have a job offer from a U.S. employer for a specialty job (PDF file).
- The foreign national must have at least a bachelor’s (i.e., 4-year) degree or equivalent.
- The foreign national’s field of study must be related to the offered job.
- The job must usually require at least a bachelor’s degree.
- The H-1B is employer-specific, i.e., a foreign national who has an H-1B visa can only work for the employer who sponsored him or her for the visa.
- The foreign national can work for several employers concurrently, but needs separate H-1Bs filed for each employer. The position can be a part-time position.
- The H-1B’s dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) receive H-4 visas. They are not allowed to work on an H-4 visa; however, they can attend school.
- An employer needs to obtain a labor condition application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor prior to filing the H-1B application.
- Beginning April 1 of each year, H-1B visa applications can be filed for the next fiscal year.
- Once the 65,000 cap is reached, USCIS does not accept any more H-1B applications for that year, unless exemptions are applicable.
How We Can Help
We consult with both employers and employees regarding their options and possibilities. We navigate through the Department of Labor’s channels for obtaining the LCA, assist the applicants in H-1B filing, and respond to evidentiary requests that might arise throughout the process.