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What Is An H-1B Visa?

What Is an H-1B Visa?

U.S. employers use the H-1B classification to obtain authorization to employ foreign professional workers. The position offered must be in a specialty occupation. The H-1B visa is also used by aliens who are coming to the U.S. to perform services as a fashion model.

What are some of the requirements to obtain an H-1B visa?

The position must require the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S.

  1. The alien must qualify for the position offered.
  2. The position offered must qualify as a specialty occupation.
  3. The alien in a specialty occupation must document that he or she is fully licensed in the state to practice in the occupation, if such license is required to practice.
  4. The employer seeking the services of the foreign worker must be a U.S. employer with an IRS tax identification number.

What is a specialty occupation?
A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires (a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S.

What are some of the positions established to be in specialty occupations?

  • Engineers
  • Systems analysts
  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Teachers/Professors
  • Scientists
  • Journalists/Editors
  • Librarians
  • Technical publications writers
  • Psychologists
  • Management consultants
  • Financial analysts
  • Market research analysts

What is the procedure to apply for H-1B status?
The U.S. employer must first file a Labor Condition Application Form ETA 9035 with the U.S. Department of Labor.  Once this application has been certified by the Department of Labor, the U.S. employer can then submit a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and H Supplement (Form I-129) to the INS Service Center with jurisdiction over the place of employment.  The alien may submit his or her application for a nonimmigrant visa Form OF-156 to the U.S. Embassy once Form I-129 has been approved by the INS.  If in the U.S., the U.S. employer may use form I-129 to request to change the status of the alien to H-1B.

Can an alien with an H-1B visa bring his or her spouse and children to the U.S.?
Yes. The spouse and children of the principal alien must apply for an H-4 visa stamp with Form OF-156 and proof of approved I-129. An H-4 visa benefits the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of the principal alien.

How long can an alien remain in the U.S. with an H-1B status?
The alien is granted an initial period of stay of 3 years. An extension of stay can be granted for up to three years. The alien may hold an H-1B classification for up to six years.

Can an alien who has been in the U.S. for six years in H-1B status request an extension of his H-1B?
No. An alien is eligible for a new six-year period in H-1B status after living outside the U.S. for at least one year.



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