H-1B – Professionals
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. Under some circumstances H-1B visas can be extended beyond 6 years.
Our attorneys have successfully filed thousands of H-1B visa applications, H-1B 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, businesswomen, 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”
How does the H-1B Visa Quota System Work?
Currently, there are 65,000 H-1B visas available each fiscal year, which begins on October 1st. There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available for individuals with a master’s degree or higher in the U.S. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to the cap. Since H-1Bs can be applied for six months in advance, H-1B ‘season” begins on April 1st when USCIS starts accepting applications for the next fiscal year.
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 two to four months to process an H-1B visa once it has been filed. An applicant can pay a premium processing fee to expedite the adjudication process. Expedited cases are adjudicated in 15 days.
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.
Contact us for more information on H-1B Visas, and guidance through what can be a complex process.
- H-1B – Professionals
- L-1A/B – Intra-company Transferees
- H-2B – Seasonal workers
- E-1 – Treaty Trader and E-2 – Treaty Investor Visas
- TN – NAFTA Professionals
- J-1 – Training and Exchange Visa
- O-1 – Extraordinary Ability
- P – Artists, Athletes and Entertainers
- R-1 – Religious Workers
- B-1/B-2 Visa or Waiver – Business or Pleasure Visitors