The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). The H-1B visa classification permits a foreign national to work in the United States for specified period of time.
The H-1B visa is available for offers of employment that are in a specialty occupation. More specifically, the H-1B visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
In order to hold one of these specialty occupations, the applicant must meet one of the following criteria:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
- 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.
In order to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
- Have education, training, or progressively responsible 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.
A person may hold H-1B visa status for upwards of six years, and the visa may be issued in increments of up to three years by the USCIS. The employee may receive extensions of H1B visa status beyond six years in certain circumstances, if they are in the process of applying for employment-based permanent residence, or also known as a green card.
H-1B visas are limited in number, with a total of 85,000 visas available each fiscal year. 20,000 of the visas are limited to individuals who have received master’s degrees or higher from a United States college or university. This limitation is referred to as the H-1B cap.
The Law Office of Peter Duong also specializes in other employee visas such as L-1 visas, E-2 investor Visas, and O extraordinary worker visas.
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa used to enter the United States for the purpose of working under an L-1 status for a specified set of time. An L-1 visa is also available to employees of international companies with offices in both the United States and abroad.
An E-2 Investor Visa allows individuals to enter and work in the United States based on an investment they will be controlling with the States. This visa must generally be renewed every two years, but there is no limit to how many times one can renew.
The O extraordinary worker visa or O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for a person who possesses extraordinary ability in the field of science, art, education, business, or athletics. Moreover, it applies to those who have demonstrated a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for their achievements.