Definition of an H-1B Visa

An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa and can be used by United State employers who wish to temporarily hire foreign employees in specialty occupations. Immigration law states they are able to offer these visas to their employees for the extent of three years. These visas can be extended to six years if necessary but usually cannot go beyond the six-year mark.


Qualifications for a H-1B Visa

The foreign professional who applies for an H-1B visa must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the specialty field that they are applying for. An immigration lawyer will help them determine whether or not their school is accredited in that degree. If the foreign professional carries a degree that is foreign, it must be determined whether or not his or her degree meets the equivalent of a U.S. degree. Those that apply for the H-1B may hold a degree in the area of, but not limited to, architecture, social sciences, accounting, engineering, theology, medicine, arts, physical sciences, business, law, or mathematics.


What about Spouses and Children?

The United States immigration laws allow spouses and foreign children, who are under the age of 21 and not married, to be assigned an H-1B visa without worker approval.


Requirements for the H-1B Visa

When foreigners are looking to travel with an H-1B visa, it must be determined by their immigration lawyer that they have a working relationship with their U.S employer. This can be determined by proving that the U.S. employer is willing to hire, supervise, and pay them a salary. The job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting certain criteria. These criteria include ensuring the degree that is held by the foreigner is equivalent to a U.S. degree, the position is so unique that they have to have a bachelor’s in the field to complete required tasks for the job, and that the employer does require a degree in the specialty field. The specialty occupation must be related to the degree that was obtained by the foreigner.



The salary that he or she receives is based on the location and business that they work for, but it is required by U.S. immigration law that they are paid the same wage of their co-workers or higher.


Availability of the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa is limited annually to 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Foreigners who are applying to work in institutions, non-profit agencies, advanced education, or government research are excused from this limit. Those who have obtained a master’s degree are limited to 20,000 acceptances each year. This number is separate from the 65,000 cap for the bachelor’s degrees. The 65,000 cap is quickly met, so it is important for foreigners and employers to plan ahead in advance to apply for the H-1B visa to better ensure their employment.



If a foreigner is ready to apply for the H-1B visa, they need to visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. This website will lead them through the application process, inform them of legal requirements, and provide contact information in case they have any questions.




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