What is H-1B Visa?

The H-1B is undoubtedly the most popular work visa in H class of non-immigrant visas in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the H-1B is that the process is generally faster than applying for a US Green Card. This visa is generally for a foreign employee temporarily coming to the United States to provide their services in a specialty occupation to a US employer. There are three sub-categories of the visa;

H-1B1 – Free Trade Agreement workers in a specialty occupation from Chile and Singapore.
H-1B2 – Specialty occupations related to Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects or Co-production projects.
H-1B3 – Fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

Employee can’t just apply for a H-1B Visa on their own, so the most important thing is to make sure that the job is in a specialty occupation, the worker has the qualifications and the employer is a US employer. “Specialty occupation” refers to having at least a US Bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent in a certain field, preferably chemistry, biotechnology, medicine, architecture, engineering, accounting, business management and administration, social sciences, law and arts. This does not apply to fashion models as they only have to be “of distinguished merit and ability”. There are some jobs for which a specific degree is not required. At times there are also some cases where a worker does not have the degree required for the job but has the expertise. Hence it becomes essential for the employee to seek guidance of an immigration officer to get help with alternative ways so that not having a specific degree or education do not prove to be fatal to their visa application. US employer is essentially a company that has a tax ID number. The US employer is expected to sponsor their employee. The US employer is also expected to prove that their employee really is eligible for the job and justify it to the Immigration Service.

84,000 H-1B Visas are given out every year. One may apply for the visa on the 1st of April, although the visas are given after the 1st of October. The duration of H-1B Visa is three years and extendable to six years. The maximum time period of the H-1B visa is ten years for exceptional United States Department of Defense project related work but exceptions are made in certain situations; for example if a visa holder has presented an I-140 worker appeal or a work affirmation before their fifth year commemoration of having the H-1B visa, they are qualified to renew their H-1B visa in one-year increases until a decision has been rendered on their application for perpetual living arrangement. This is backed up by the Immigration and Nationality Act 106a. On the off chance that the visa holder has an affirmed I-140 migrant request, however can’t start the last stride of the green card process because of their priority date not being present, they might be qualified for a three-year expansion of their H-1B visa until their change of status can wrap up. This special case began with the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 segment 104a (AC21 104a). H-1B portability is when a new employer sponsors another H-1B Visa. H-1B holders who need to keep on working in the U.S. following six years, yet who have not acquired permanent residency status, must stay outside of the U.S. for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. Despite a limit on length of stay, no prerequisite exists that the individual stay for any period in the occupation the visa was initially issued for.

The H-1B Visa is considered to be a sound choice as it is a “dual intent” visa. It is the ideal way to eventually get a Green card because getting a H-1B Visa implies that you may have your Green Card request pending but you can still get extensions on your H-1B Visa. The extensions can be of up to 6 years or in certain cases even more years of extension, like when your immigrant application process is pending. The family members of H-1B Visa holders are admitted to the H-4 Visa category. Family members can include one’s spouse and unmarried children of age less than 21. They can be admitted in other categories like F-1 Visa for studying. However, he main drawback of the H-1B Visa is that your dependents; family, which would be in the US on H-4 status, are not allowed to work unless they acquire their own H-1B visa. Another disadvantage is that H-1B Visas are not available all around the year. If a foreign employee who holds the H-1B Visa gets dismissed or quits their job, then they need to find another employer or leave the U.S.