Whats and Hows of the H-1 B Visa
What is H-1 B Visa?
The US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine and requires the visa holder to have at least a Bachelors degree or its equivalent in the specific specialty for which he/ she seeks employment. USCIS will determine whether one’s employment constitutes a specialty occupation and whether one is qualified to perform the services.
Thus, the H-1B category is an expedient and lawful method to bring foreign-born professionals temporarily to the United States, and therefore one of the most widely sought after visa classifications for employment in the United States.
For how long is the H-1 B status valid?
An individual may work on H-1B status for a maximum of six years. However, a petition will not be granted for more than three years. An extension of stay is requested if an individual is in H-1B status already and he or she is eligible for a longer period of employment. Certain aliens working on Defense Department projects may remain in H1B status for 10 years.
Who can file for H-1 B visa?
A petition may be filed by a job contractor, namely a person or entity that pays its employees for services performed at the work sites of other employers. USCIS will generally not grant a petition for self-employed people. Thus, one cannot file H1 for oneself.
If one plans to work for multiple employers (either full time or part time), each employer must file separate H1B petition. The employer is responsible for return transportation costs for an employee terminated prior to the end of the approved period of employment.
Features of H-1 B visa
> The advantage of an H1 visa is that one can work legally in the U.S. in non-immigrant status, and get the visa quickly after the petition is approved. One may travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. until the visa expires, and an H4 visa is available for accompanying family member (spouse and minor children under 21).
> H-1 visa holders can buy a house or any other real estate property in the U.S. H-1 visa holders can also invest money in stocks, mutual funds, bonds etc. H-1 visa holders cannot work as self-employed or freelancers and do contract type of work in free time.
> If the beneficiary of an H-1B visa is in the U.S. in valid status (e.g., F-1 visa), he or she may change status. If the beneficiary is not in the U.S., he or she must go to the U.S. Consulate to apply for an H-1B visa upon USCIS’s approval of the employer’s petition.
>In general, most nonimmigrant visa classifications require that a person maintain a foreign residence abroad and show that he or she is coming to the U.S. temporarily. However, the law allows a person on an H-visa to have “dual intent,” which is arguably the most beneficial aspect of obtaining this visa. Under the dual intent doctrine, a person may come to the U.S. temporarily and lawfully seek permanent residence (for himself/herself and immediate family members, spouse and children under 21) in the U.S. at the same time, without affecting H1/H4 status. Therefore, the filing of a labor certification or an employment based preference petition will not cause denial of an H-1B petition filed with the USCIS or an application for an H-1B visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
>While a green card application is pending, H1/H4 visa holders can travel in and out of the U.S. using a non-expired H1/H4 visa without need for Advance Parole or EAD. H-1B foreign specialty workers are not required to maintain foreign residence and may seek permanent residence in the U.S.
(Continued on the next page………)