H-1B Visa Guide

 

If you are not a native of the United States and wish to work in the country, it is likely that you will need a visa. There are many categories of visas for temporary workers, but today we will talk specifically about the H-1B visa and how you can get one.

 

 

What is the H-1B visa for?

The H-1B, a nonimmigrant visa, is a type of U.S. work permit designed for those who perform work that involve a high level of skill and/or knowledge, that is, work in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. Unlike other work permits, the H-1B doesn’t depend on the individual’s nationality or prior work experience.

 

Are there different types of the H-1B visa?

There are three types of H-1B visa: The H-1B for specialty occupations; The H-1B2 for Department Of Defense Researcher and Development Project Workers; And the H-1B3 for fashion models.

 

Who can apply for the H-1B visa?

Each type of visa has a different set of eligibility requirements. 

 

For the H-1B visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria: 

 

  • The applicant’s occupation must require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge;
  • Hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in that specialty occupation or hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university;
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; 
  • Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to the completion of  a U.S. bachelor’s  or higher degree in the specialty occupation; 
  • Have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

 

For the H-1B2 visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria: 

 

  • Have a verification letter from the DOD project manager for the particular project stating that the beneficiary will be working on a cooperative research and development project or a co production project under a reciprocal Government-to-Government agreement administered by DOD;
  • Hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in that specialty occupation or hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university;
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; 
  • Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to the completion of  a U.S. bachelor’s  or higher degree in the specialty occupation. 

 

For the H-1B2 application, your petition must also be accompanied by a general description of your duties on the project, the dates of your employment on the project and a statement with data of the noncitizens of the U.S. currently employed or that were employed within the past year on that project. 

 

For the H-1B3 visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria: 

 

  • Be a fashion model of prominence;
  • Be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

 

How long can I stay in the United States on an H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is valid for three years. After this period, you can return to your home country or you can request for an extension, which, if approved, will last up to an additional three years. Generally, the H-1B visa cannot exceed the period of 6 years.

 

Can I bring my family on an H-1B visa?

Yes, you can bring your family, as long as they are immediate family members. This includes spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old.  They have the right to seek admission through the H-4 visa.

 

What are the requirements to apply for the H-1B visa for immediate family members?

To apply as a dependent, it is mandatory to demonstrate a relationship with the H-1B visa holder, which includes documents like birth and marriage certificates. Your dependents are going to be able to stay with you during the length of  your stay and they will have the right to pursue educational programs or work. 

It is important to highlight that with this visa only certain dependent spouses are allowed to work. For the Employment Authorization, they must file Form I-765, after the H-1B nonimmigrant has already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. The children are solely permitted to attend school, college, university, or other educational programs.

 

Are there any travel restrictions?

No, there aren’t any travel restrictions on the H-1B visa. You may travel in and out of the United States as many times as necessary during the period of validity of your visa, either for personal or for professional interests.

 

How do I apply for an H-1B visa?

If you are outside the United States, you must apply through a U.S. Embassy. In that case, you should (generally) observe the following steps:

  • File form DS-160 electronically.
  • Pay application fees.
  • Schedule a visa interview.
  • Organize required documents.
  • Attend the interview.


Regardless of your circumstance, it is beneficial to have the assistance of an Immigration Attorney to guide you through your process. If you want to learn more, please click here.

 

How long does it take to receive an H-1B visa? 

The processing time of a visa request may vary depending on your circumstance,  lasting up to six months. If you don’t have time to wait, there is also the premium processing option, which allows USCIS to process your application in 15 days.

 

Can I apply for a Green Card through an H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is a visa of dual-intent. That means that, although the H-1B is in a nonimmigrant visa category, it isn’t a condition of this visa to prove your intention of returning to your national country after the visa’s expiration date (nonimmigrant intent). 

H-1B visa applicants may have both nonimmigrant intent (to return to your national country) and immigrant intent (to apply for permanent residency). Whenever the visa is of dual-intent you have the option to submit paperwork for a green card.

If you are interested in applying for a permanent residency and want to better understand what steps you should take, please feel free to contact us. Our office will make sure that you receive the best and most personalized consultation available, from anywhere in the world. 



If you are interested in learning more, please click here.

 
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information and content available on this website is for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the website or post does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, browser, website authors, and contributors.

 

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