An H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant employment visa that allows employers in the United States hire foreign national workers for what are known as specialty occupations. Those workers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. A few examples of such jobs might consist of accountants, engineers, certain IT experts or even medical doctors. As H-1B visas are in high demand, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) uses has placed a 65,000 cap on them. An additional 20,000 are available for candidates with masters or higher degrees. Some H-1B cap exceptions exist, especially if an individual’s sponsoring employer is a university or a government research organization.
How Long is an H-1B Visa Good For?
H-1B visas are valid for up to three years. The general rule is that the H-1B can be extended for another three years, but there is a six-year limit. As the H-1B is what’s known as a “dual intent” visa, the holder is allowed to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States. That’s yet another advantage of obtaining this visa. The six-year limit can be extended if the visa holder applies for an EB visa before the end of the fifth month of the end of the H-1B visa. The individual will be required to stay with their existing employer though. By doing that, he or she can keep their place in line for permanent residency.
The H-1B Process
Assuming that you’re a foreign national who has been hired by a U.S. business entity, it’s the employer’s legal obligation to begin the process of getting you here. That’s done by the employer electronically submitting a Labor Certification Application (LCA) to the U.S. Department of Labor. Upon approval of the LCA, the employer must file a Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS. Expedited premium processing is available for this if the employer pays an additional charge.
The I-129 Petition
At a minimum, the I-129 Petition should be accompanied by the following documents:
- The applicant’s resume.
- The written employment agreement between the employer and employee.
- An evaluation of the employee’s work experience.
- Proof of the employee’s education or work experience.
- Submission of any training certificates.
- Any documents evidencing professional memberships.
- Support letter.
- Any other required filing documents.
After the I-129 petition is approved, it then becomes the foreign national’s responsibility to process his or her visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This is done with the Form DS-160. It’s filed electronically, and approval typically takes less than a week after submission of all documents, payment of fees and the required interview.
Various deadlines are set every year for H-1B petitions. Place those dates on your calendar, especially the dates for the opening and closing of registration periods.
For both U.S. employers and employees, the H-1B process is notoriously detailed and complicated. At Maison Law Immigration Lawyers here in Bakersfield, we’ve been successfully handling H-1B visas for both employers and employees from across the world for many years now. Entrust the H-1B process to our knowledgeable and dedicated immigration lawyers. We want to see deserving workers and their families succeed in the United States.
Contact A California Immigration Lawyer Today
The requirements for the drafting, filing and bringing effective and successful appeals are complex and confusing. Although the law permits it, don’t try to bring an AAO appeal on your own. Contact Maison Law Immigration Lawyers for a consultation on discussing the best course of action for you. We’re in Bakersfield and handle cases throughout the Central Valley. As strict deadlines for bringing appeals exist, it’s critical that you take action on bringing your appeal right away. We want to help you with your dream of living and working in the United States.