H-lB Visa

The H-1B visa is granted to those applicants who can demonstrate that they are employed in a specialty occupation. This is generally defined as an occupation that requires a university degree in the United States. H-1B visas are subject to an annual limit of 65,000 visas issued per year for those with baccalaureate degrees and an additional 20,000 annual limit for those with master's degrees.

The H-1B visa is a petition-based nonimmigrant visa category. This means that an employer must petition the USCIS for an H-1B visa for its prospective employee. The USCIS permits the filing of H-1B visa petitions on April 1 st of each calendar year with an October 1 st start date. The majority of applicants for the H-1B visa will be subject to the annual limitations and need to apply with the USCIS on April 1 st. The demand for H-1B visas typically exceeds the supply. There are situations where an applicant may be exempt from these annual limits if he works for a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a United States' institution of higher learning or a research organization. In most instances though, individuals are subject to the annual limitations.

As a result of the labor certification process, an H-1B visa may be extended in one-year increments beyond the six years in cases where a labor certification or an Immigrant Petition for Foreign National Worker (USCIS form I-140) was filed by the employer on behalf of the employee and 365 days have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or the filing of the I-140. Once the I-140 is approved, the H-1B visa may be extended in three-year increments.

The dependents of H-1B visa applicants, such as spouses and children, are allowed to enter the United States on the H-4 visa. H-4 visa holders are not eligible for work authorization.

To schedule an initial consultation with a Memphis Immigration attorney, call (901) 692-5732 or with a New York City Immigration Attorney, call (646) 380-0474 or contact Witty Law Group, PLLC.