The H-1B Visa for Professionals
The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa for certain professional workers, permitting full-time or part-time employment in the U.S. It is normally issued for three years, with a possibility of a three-year extension. However, if an H-1B holder is in the process of obtaining an employment-based green card, extensions beyond 6 years may be possible.
A foreign national who is in the U.S. on an H-1B may change jobs if a new employer applies for an H-1B transfer on his behalf. However, the six-year limit for H-1B status still applies. An H-1B employee can also work for multiple employers as long as each files a petition with USCIS on his or her behalf. There is no specific number of hours that the employee is required to work for each employer.
Spouses and minor children (under 21) of persons granted H-1B status are generally admitted in H-4 status.
There are very specific eligibility criteria for an H-1B, and in recent years, USCIS has been interpreting these more narrowly. An approvable case has the following elements:
- The prospective employee's position must be in a specialty occupation, meaning that the position must require a bachelor's degree, or higher, in a specific field.
- The position must be temporary with a specified end date. H-1Bs can be initially granted for up to 3 years.
- The applicant must have appropriate qualifications for the occupation and for the employer's position.
- The petitioning employer must operate in the U.S. and have a U.S. Tax ID number.
- There must be a clear employer/employee relationship.
- The employer must obtain an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL) for the position offered.
- There must be an H-1B visa available at the time the employer's petition is received by USCIS. This rule does not apply to cap exempt employers or certain cap-exempt beneficiaries.
You have questions. We have answers.
At Immigration Law Associates, a Chicago-based immigration law firm, we've learned that an informed client – one who thoroughly understands the H-1B process and requirements – can be a big asset in developing an approvable case. For this reason, our experienced attorneys will take the time to answer all your questions and ensure that you are clear on what is allowed and required in connection with an H-1B petition. We recognize that the ability to add a skilled worker to your staff (if you are employer) or to move your career forward in the U.S. (if you are a foreign worker) is critical to you. As your legal partner, we will act with urgency and deploy our best resources to prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf. Please call us at 847-763-8500 to set up a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.