What You Should Know About The H-1B Visa

An H-1B visa may give you or someone you know the chance to settle in the United States legally for a period of time and might even make the process of applying for permanent residency easier. This visa entitles holders to work in certain specialized sectors that require advanced education and training for employment. An H-1B visa lawyer can answer any questions about this type of visa and offer representation in an immigration court if necessary. Here are some important details that you should know about the H-1B visa.

Bachelor's Degree or Equivalent Work Experience Required

Only people who have at least a bachelor's degree or enough work experience in the specialized field in which they plan to work while living in the U.S. are eligible to obtain an H-1B visa. People who are eligible for the H-1B visa often have degrees or work histories in fields like:

  • Computer science
  • Health care
  • Engineering
  • Graphic design
  • Accounting
  • Investment banking
  • Architecture
  • Education 

If you are unsure of whether you or someone you know would qualify for this visa based on education and work experience, an H-1B visa lawyer can review case-specific details to let you know if you or the other person is eligible.

An Employer Must Apply on the Applicant's Behalf

A sponsoring employer must apply on behalf of anyone who wishes to obtain an H-1B visa. If a prospective immigrant has no sponsoring employer, they are not allowed to apply for the visa themselves. If the employer is not able to apply for the visa, they may be able to pursue other visa options that allow an immigrant to live and work legally in the U.S.

The Lottery System

Even the most qualified applicants must earn their H-1B visas through a lottery system. There are 65,000 visas that are granted to applicants through an initial lottery drawing. Applicants who hold at least a bachelor's degree and are not applying solely based on work experience can then be entered into a drawing for an extra 20,000 visas if they were not selected in the initial lottery.

A Three-Year Period of Stay Is Initially Granted

Once a person has received their H-1B visa, they will be allowed to stay in the country and work legally for three years. This period may be extended to as long as six years in some cases. If the visa holder wishes to stay for an even longer period, they will need to reapply for a new H-1B visa. An H-1B visa lawyer may even be able to help a client obtain a different type of visa that allows for a longer stay duration or apply for permanent residency if eligible.

Anyone from abroad who wishes to enjoy a slice of the American dream can possibly get their chance if they meet all the eligibility requirements to earn an H-1B visa. An attorney who practices H-1B law can offer guidance that is intended to make the entire process of obtaining this visa easier. Contact an H-1B visa lawyer to get your visa process started.