What is H1-B Visa and Who Can Apply?

For starters, let us discuss what an H1-B work Visa is. An H1-B Visa, also referred to as the “Specialty Worker” Visa is a temporary visa made available to workers in occupations requiring highly specialized knowledge. The H1-B Visa is commonly utilized by persons in fields such as computer science, medicine, law, engineering, business, and teaching, just to name a few. There are two main components to an H1-B, namely whether the applicant has the appropriate background and experience to be considered a specialty worker and whether the position requires the skills of a specialty worker. For example, a computer programmer with a bachelor’s degree in computer science applying for a secretarial position will not likely be approved. However, a computer programmer with a bachelor’s degree applying for a position whereby the job requires the applicant to develop software will generally be acceptable. Person’s applying for an H1-B must have a job offer before applying for the Visa, as a sponsoring employer is required.

H1-B Visas are generally valid for a period of 3 years and may be renewed once for a total of six years. Recipients of H1-B Visas are generally permitted to bring their spouse and minor single children; however the accompanying spouse and children are not permitted to work unless they independently qualify for a work visa.

Obtaining H1-B Visas is very competitive as only 85,000 visas are available each year, 20,000 of which are exclusively reserved for people with a minimum Master’s level degree from a United States Academic Institution. H1-B Visa applications are accepted beginning April 1 of each year for work to begin on October 1 of that same year. Historically, there were usually significantly more H1-B applicants for available H1-B cap each year. For instance, by April 3, 2007, over 119,000 H1B applications were received for 65,000 available visas. Although the economy has not been as strong in recent years, however with the recent improved unemployment rates, it is still advisable to apply early and put your best case forward. If you have a job offer and considering applying for a H1-B visa, please contact us today for a H1-B evaluation.