The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category applies to an alien coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
- The beneficiary must have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S.;
- The petitioner must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and will pay at least the prevailing wage to the beneficiary;
- The beneficiary possesses at lease a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent; and
- The beneficiary will fill a position that qualifies as a “specialty occupation”, which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields.
Cap for H-1B:
- The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year (among them 6,800 visas are reserved for nationals from Chili and Singapore).
- 20,000 visas for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
- H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.
Period of Stay:
- The initial period of stay is up to 3 years. May extend status for a maximum of 6 years.
- May extend beyond 6 years if the beneficiary is in the process of applying for employment-based permanent residence.
- It is a nonimmigrant status and permit “dual-intent” (intent to immigrant).
Change of Employment:
- Change of Employment is allowed.
- The new employer must file a new LCA and a new H-1B visa application.
- Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may come to the U.S. under H-4 status.
- They are permitted to attend school or college.
- The spouse (H-4) is permitted to work if: (1) the main applicant’s I-140 has been approved; or (2) the main applicant’s PERM or I-140 has been submitted for more than one year.