What is the US H-1B visa category?
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa category, which allows US companies and employers to petition for highly educated foreign professionals to work in “specialty occupations” such as in IT, finance, architecture, accounting, engineering, science, mathematics, medicine, etc.
Generally, the initial duration of an H-1B visa grant is three years, which can be extended for a maximum of six years.
The H-1B program is quite good option for those Mexican and Canadian nationals who want to seek employment in the United States. They are also generally allowed to leave and return to the U.S. as they like, so long as their H-1B status remains valid.
H-1B Visa cap
H-1B visas are subject to an annual visa cap each fiscal year. Current immigration law on the H1-B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 each financial year. US employers can start applying for the H-1B visa six months before the actual start date of the visa.
Eligibility: specialty occupation
The US H1-B visa aims to attract foreign staff in specialty occupations. To qualify as a specialty occupation, the job must meet one of the following criteria:
- The position must have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or equivalent
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Eligibility: employee qualifications
To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:
- He/she must have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university in US
- He/she should hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- He/she must hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes him/her to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment.
- He/she must have relevant education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
Family & Dependants
H-1B visa holders can also bring their immediate family members including their spouse and children (under 21 years of age) to the United States under the H-4 Visa category as dependents.
An H4 Visa holder is permitted to remain in the US as long as the H-1B visa holder’s visa permits. However, an H-4 visa holder is not eligible to work in the US, but they can attend school, obtain a driver’s license and open a bank account while in the US.
Benefits of H-1B visa
- The first H-1B visa benefit is the broad requirements associated with qualifying for this visa. As various other working visas require the candidate to have a managerial position, a master’s degree, or an investment of thousands of dollars, the H-1B simply requires a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a U.S. company for a specialty position.
- Unlike many other work visa classifications, one of the major H-1B’s benefits is the fact that it is considered to be a “dual intent” visa, which enables candidates to pursue legal permanent residency while they are under H-1B nonimmigrant status.
- Another benefit of the H-1B visa is the amount of time candidates are initially granted when they receive their visa. Unlike some of the other visas such as B-1 and J-1, the H-1B permits visa holders to stay for three years initially and can easily be extended.
- In contrast to the rigid regulations surrounding some other work-related visas, the H-1B offers holders the ability to port their status from one employer to another during their stay.
How WWICS Immigration experts can help you!!
Choosing the right visa can sometimes be a daunting task. That’s why we never recommend anyone to navigate immigration law without a qualified immigration expert at their side.
The expert H-1B immigration experts at WWICS can assess your immigration case and help you come to an informed decision about how you want to enter the United States.