What is an H-1B visa?
Frequently Asked Question about the H-1B visa
One type of Temporary Work Visa issued through the Immigration and Nationality Act is the H-1B. It allows individuals to be employed in specialty occupations for a set period of time. Before the application process begins an individual must have been offered a position by an employer.
In addition, if someone is considering applying for a H-1B visa there are certain requirements that must be met by his or her employer in order for the individual to be eligible to file. An employer-employee relationship must be established by the employer who is petitioning on someone’s behalf.
Our immigration team at Basiga Law Firm can help you determine if you or your employee meet the criteria necessary in order to apply for the H-1B. If you decide to proceed with an application, we will help you understand the requirements and will explain to you the different numerical caps for the visas.
How do I know if a job qualifies for an H-1B visa?
There are specific requirements that must be met by the employment position in order for you to be eligible for the H-1B visa. These include, among other requirements, meeting all of the following criteria related to specialty occupations:
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher is required for the position.
- The degree for the position is unique or specialized requiring a person completing the job to hold a bachelor’s degree in a particular field.
- The employer normally requires the described specialized degree for anyone holding the position.
- The duties are so complex it requires someone to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in order to perform the job.
Most of the H-1B applications considered are for jobs as scientists, computer programmers or engineers. However, these are not the only jobs considered for the visas. At Basiga Law Firm we can help you determine if your job will meet the qualifications as a specialty occupation for an application.
H-1B visa, What are the limitations?
The H-1B visas have several limitations placed on how many can be issued to applicants. There is a numerical cap of 65,000 visas per year. However, there are some applications not counted towards this limit. The exceptions are as follows:
- The first 20,000 applicants with a master’s degree in a specialty field are exempt from the cap.
- Individuals who are petitioning for an application who work at an institution of higher learning or an affiliated nonprofit, employees at nonprofit research institutions or government research institutions are also not counted in the cap.
If you do not meet any of the exceptions listed above then it is imperative to apply early. The numerical cap fills up very quickly. Therefore it is vital to plan in advance. Visas are issued with an October 1 start date and applications can be filed as soon as six months beforehand, which is April 1.
Application Process for an H-1B visa
The petition for the visa requires a wide array of documentation that must be included with your submitted materials. Certifications from the Department of Labor need to be completed along with information regarding your educational background. Accepted documents include final transcripts or a letter from the registrar’s office certifying the requirements for your degree have been met.
All of the additional documentation must be included in the petition packet submitted along with the employer/sponsor’s completed Form I-129. The materials also must have duplicate copies of some documents mailed with the submission. As your immigration attorney, we will make sure everything is complete and in order before submitting your H-1B visa materials.
Understanding the criteria for the H-1B visa can be difficult. Do not attempt the application process without ensuring the job fits the requirements. Our immigration legal team is ready to answer any questions about the H-1B application process and to help you with all the required documentation required for submission.