writing codeReceiving an H-1B visa can give you the opportunity to come to the United States and work in your trade. However, not everyone can qualify for this visa, and there are limits as to how many are granted in a specific period of time, as well.

By learning about this visa and carefully considering your situation, you can make the best choice based on what will work for you. The following is some basic information about the H-1B visa.

Who Can Apply for an H-1B Visa?

For someone to qualify for the H-1B visa, they need:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
  • Employment in a speciality occupation
  • To be earning a wage

If you work in what’s considered a “specialty occupation” and are granted an H-1B visa, then your initial visa is granted for up to three years. The H1-B visa can be extended for up to a combined total of six years.

This visa is temporary and does not provide lawful permanent residence. This temporary visa helps businesses meet their employee needs when qualified US citizens and lawful permanent residents are not available for employment.

Here are just some of the positions that can be sponsored for the H-1B visa:

  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Engineers
  • Professors
  • Fashion models

If there are problems finding US workers with specific skills, employers hiring for your niche qualifications can sponsor you for an H-1B visa.

Additionally, if you can show that there are valid reasons to hire you instead of someone from the US based on your skill set, educational level, and related factors you may also qualify for this visa.

You also need an employer-employee relationship with a company, as this is how visas are granted. If you are self-employed, there are further requirements that will need to be met. This includes the type of degree you have, and how the work you will be doing is based on that degree.

How to Apply for an H-1B Visa

Diagram on how to apply for a h-1b visa

In order to apply for an H-1B visa, it is generally best to work with a qualified attorney who can evaluate your case and ensure that your paperwork is filed properly and within the filing deadlines. You will have to provide specific documentation, and that can differ depending on the employment opportunity for which you are being considered.

When you are ready to apply for an H-1B visa, whether you are working with an employer or asking to come to the US on a self-employed basis, your attorney can help you determine the right steps to take. Then you will have the highest chance of success, which benefits you and the employer you may work for in the future.

When you file for your H-1B Visa here are just some of the documents you will need to include:

  • Form I-907 (if you opt for Premium Processing Service)
  • Form G-28 (this is only needed if you are represented by a lawyer)
  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
  • Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94)
  • Department of Labor certified LCA, Form ETA 9035
  • Employer/attorney/representative letter(s)
  • School Transcripts

What Are the Numerical Limits?

Currently, there is an annual cap set at 65,000 visas. Additionally, the first 20,000 people who apply and have the equivalent of US Master’s degrees are exempt from this annual 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 exempt from the cap.

Often, the applications for the H-1B visa fill up very quickly, so it is extremely important to apply as early in the fiscal year as possible. That can give you the best chance of making sure you can secure a visa, provided you meet all the other requirements.

Do You Need Help with Your H-1B Visa?

Consultation with an attorney is recommended in order to ensure that you qualify for the visa and submit a timely application. You have the best chance of providing accurate paperwork and documentation when working with a qualified immigration attorney.

Pobjecky & Pobjecky is experienced with H-1B visas and will work with you personally to file all your documentation. Contact us today to start the H-1B visa process.

Photo by Michael Himbeault / CC BY