What is an H-1B visa?
A H-1B visa allows individuals work authorization in the U.S. who perform services in a specialty occupation. A H-1B visa allows the visa holder to be admitted to the U.S. for a period of 3 years and can be generally be extended up to 6 years in total. This visa classification is eligible for permanent residency sponsorship.
To qualify for a H-1B visa, a Foreign National must hold a degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university that would qualify the Foreign National for the position in addition to the position also qualifying as a specialty occupation. An Employer must be willing to sponsor a Foreign National for this status as they will be liable for the reasonable costs of a Foreign National’s return transportation if employment is terminated by the employer prior to the end of the period of authorized stay.
- Initial H-1B/USCIS Lottery: Only a certain amount of H-1B visas are allowed to be issued every fiscal year. As such, initial petitions are subjected to USCIS annual lottery which occurs every March for a start date of October 1st. This is the only time of year that a petition subjected to the lottery may file their petition. When applying for an initial H-1B, Employer and Foreign National register with USCIS’ online system to be included in the lottery. If selected by USCIS, the H-1B petition may be filed with USCIS. The chances of a petition being selected in the lottery are approximately 1 in 3.
- H-1B Extensions: After the initial H-1B period of stay, an extension may be requested as long as the Foreign National has not already held H-1B status for the maximum of 6 years. An extension is not subjected to the USCIS lottery and maybe filed at any time throughout the year. Any time spent outside the U.S. by the Foreign National does not count toward the maximum allowed H-1B time and can be recaptured. A Foreign National may spend longer than 6 years in H-1B status if a permanent residency application has been filed on their behalf and is pending when their current H-1B period of stay is set to expire.
- H-1B and Educational or Non-Profit Organizations: Select categories of Educational and Nonprofit Organizations such as Universities and Nonprofit Research Organizations are exempt from the H-1B numerical limitation and therefore are not subjected to the annual USCIS lottery and maybe filed anytime throughout the year.
LENTINI VISAS EXPERIENCE
Our law firm assists both the Employer and the Foreign National throughout the entire H-1B process. We have prepared numerous H-1B petitions throughout various industries including IT consulting, engineering, manufacturing, university professors, coaches, actuaries, acupuncture.