The most commonly known temporary work visa is the H-1B visa, which is granted in 3 year intervals up to a maximum period of 6 years.
In order to be eligible to apply for an H-1B visa, the following conditions must be present:
- The prospective applicant must possess the minimum of a 4 year university diploma from a U.S. or foreign educational institution. If the individual has received the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from a foreign university, the educational credentials must be sent to an evaluation agency in the U.S. to determine its U.S. higher education equivalency.
- The prospective applicant must have a valid job offer from an organization in the U.S. which is parallel to the individual’s field of education.
If the prospective applicant does not possess a 4 year university degree, it is possible to receive an equivalency evaluation based on a combination of education and experience. Please note that the experience must be consistent with the field of education in order to be eligible for use in equivalency evaluation. Please contact our office if you will be applying for an H-1B visa, do not possess a 4 year university degree, yet believe that the combination of your education and experience would amount to the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree.
The position that is being offered to the prospective applicant by the U.S. organization must qualify as a “specialty occupation”, i.e. the position must require a set of specialized knowledge and skills, and require the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent for the successful completion of the entailed duties.
All time spent outside of the U.S. while in H or L status can be “recaptured” towards the end of the 6 year maximum stay. Additionally, prior periods spent in the U.S. in H and L visa status count towards the 6 year maximum stay and will be deducted, unless the prospective applicant has spent a minimum of 1 continuous year abroad. Moreover, the H-1B status can be extended beyond 6 years in case there is an employment based green card application pending for 365 days on behalf of the alien. In order to be eligible for these additional extensions, the PERM application must be filed before the end of the 5th year of the H-1B application excluding the recapture time, if there is any.
The H-1B visa is subject to a “quota system”, in which the U.S. government sets a limit of 65,000 H-1B visas per year. The U.S. government also has an additional 20,000 H-1B visa quota for individuals who have received Master’s or higher degrees in the U.S. H-1B quota subject visa applications are accepted every year beginning April 1, with an employment start date of October 1. Please note that the H-1B quota is usually depleted within days of April 1, therefore all prospective applicants are strongly urged to contact our office as soon as possible to ensure timely submission of applications to USCIS. The H-1B quota will remain open and applications will continue to be accepted until there are a sufficient number of applications to fulfill the allotted H-1B visas.