H-1B visas are employment-based, non-immigrant visas that allow foreign national employees of U.S. based companies to live and work in the country. Although the filing season for H-1B visas officially began on April 1st of this year, there are some restrictions and eligibility guidelines that U.S. employers and foreign nationals need to know. Yet, some individuals can apply for the H-1B if they fall into a “Cap Exempt” category (such as certain educational institutions or non-profits, or perhaps those who held H-1B status years before).
Who Can File an H-1B Visa?
Contrary to popular belief, foreign nationals are not permitted to file an H-1B visa on their own behalf. The H-1B visa process needs to be initiated by a U.S. employer. To qualify for an H-1B visa, applicants must hold a specialty occupation with a minimum education level of a Bachelor’s Degree, and there must be an established employer-employee relationship. Some of the most common professions granted through an H-1B visa include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Computer science
- And Any Occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree
How Many H-1B Visas Are Available?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) caps H-1B visas at 65,000 each fiscal year. However, there are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available for applicants who have earned a Master’s Degree from a U.S. university. Individuals who have been approved for an H-1B visa can live and work in the United States for up to 3 years. Yet, there are some special circumstances in which an extension can be filed.
H-1B Visa Applicants and Family Members
Spouses and children may be eligible to accompany H-1B visa applicants to the United States by applying for an H-4 visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country. The process can be complicated, and any errors on applications can delay the proceeding. Consulting an experienced immigration attorney can help avoid obstacles.
Obtaining an H-1B visa can be an arduous process, especially without an attorney on your side. If you are a foreign national or work for an organization that needs assistance with your H-1B visa application, we can help. Contact Yekrangi & Associates at (949) 478-4963 today to learn more. Our experienced immigration attorneys will guide you through every step and answer all of your questions and concerns.