H-1B Visa: Facts, Requirements, and Process
The US has got one of the most complex visa systems where you must know which category you fall. One of the most common yet controversial visa categories is, H-1B which is of primary importance if you are a skilled person and want to do a job in the US.
However, H-1B is very controversial and businesses, as well as labor organizations, always criticize it. While businesses complain that the acceptance ratio is too strict allowing very few people every year, labor organizations have a point that due to this visa category, every year thousands of US citizens get affected. So, let us discuss the H-1B visa in detail.
What is the H-1B Visa?
If a US employer justifies that there is a specific job for which there is no suitable person available locally, he can use H-1B. He had to prove his justification and then will be allowed to hire a foreign professional.
The H-1B visa will allow the person to remain in the US, which was otherwise not allowed, to work for the employer who has hired him. If he leaves that job and doesn’t transfer his visa to another category, his Visa will be revoked.
The H-1B visas were first started in 1990 and are not a direct path to citizenship. However, the person is eligible to apply for one. The official website of the Department of Labor states that an H-1B visa allows the US employer to employ a person for the job which would be left unhired if a foreign person were not allowed to be hired.
What is the qualification for H-1B Visa?
H-1B has a very specific qualification requirement and is granted to people with exceptional skills and education. If a person has good practical skills in the job and also possesses a bachelor’s degree, he or she is eligible to apply for the H-1B visa.
The US employer has to justify before the officials that the person he is employing is the need of the country. He has to prove that the specific job can’t be done if we don’t hire this specific person. The locals are either not available to work for the job or are not qualified as much as required for the job. Once he proves it, the person qualifies for the visa.
How many H-1B Visas are granted each year?
Not only is the application process very strict, but there is another cap on H-1B visas. Not all applicants get the visa even if they qualify for the job. There is a lottery system in which only 65,000 persons are selected every year, as per the current law, to award the H-1B visa. So, only proving your qualification doesn’t guarantee you the visa.
There is a relaxation in the law for certain people. If a person has qualified for a master’s degree from any US degree, then he has a higher chance to get selected. The sole reason is that for these job applicants, there are additional 20,000 visas every year. However, these laws are not fixed and may change whenever there is an amendment in USCIS laws.
Length of stay on an H-1B Visa
Another biggest hurdle in this visa is that it doesn’t give you a lifetime coverage to work in the US. The initial period of the visa is only 3 years. Once this period completes, your employer considers that you are still the best person for the job, then they will renew the visa for you for another 3 years duration.
For the renewal process, you don’t have to pass through the pool selection of 65,000 visas. However, the total length of stay on an H-1B visa is 6 years. After that period, if you still want to work in the US, then you have to again apply for the lottery system after a one-year gap.
Process of Applying for H-1B Visa
Here comes the most critical part of the article, where we will explain that how to apply for the said visa. The first condition is that the person must qualify for the H-1B visa. He or she must meet all the conditions that are required by the law.
Once he meets the requirements, the employer will apply in the Labor Condition Application for approval. After the approval from LCA, the employer will file an H-1B petition for approval with USCIS.
Once the petition is approved, the said person will apply for the visa in the US Consulate of his home country. He will appear for the interview like other candidates and must follow other formalities like filling up the form and fee submission. Once the visa is approved and gets a stamp, the person can come to the US for work.
H-1B visa requires complex approval. An applicant must have a valid passport before he applies for the process. Once the visa is granted, he can only work for the specific employer unless he updates the same with another employer.
Educational requirements of H-1B Visa
As we mentioned earlier, education is a key requirement if you want to apply for the H-1B Visa. The said person must possess a 4-years bachelor’s degree from a US University or an equivalent. The degree institution must be accredited in his home country.
In the past, people had three years bachelor’s degrees. If any such person possesses at least three years of working experience along with a three-year degree, then the working experience will count as an additional study year and make him eligible to apply.
Apart from the college degree, the person must also possess all legal requirements to work for the job. Some jobs like doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, and others are regulated through specific bodies in the US. The applicant must have a qualification that is acceptable by these bodies.
Which jobs are allowed under the H-1B Visa?
Certain job categories have a greater chance of visa acceptance than others. People working in the field of Science, Technology, Management Sciences, and Engineering have a higher chance of selection.
Other fields that fall under this category include but are not limited to Doctors and Physicians, Finance Managers and Analysts, Business and Sales Managers, Artists, Entertainment, Architects, Lawyers, and Health staff.
Important Facts about H-1B Visa
There are multiple facts about H-1B visas that you must know before applying.
Limit of Stay
H-1B Visa is a good way to enter the US legally to provide your services. However, one of the biggest problems is that it doesn’t permit you a lifetime to work in the US. Moreover, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get a US Green Card.
An H-1B visa will give you an initial approval of only three years. Once you work for the said period, you can extend the visa for another 3 years.
H-1B Visa Re-Stamping
A person usually applies for a visa from his home country as he or she is not yet in the US. However, re-stamping is simpler than the first-time application. If you have an extension approval, you can re-stamp your visa from any US consulate.
Change of Job
A person having an H-1B visa is allowed to work with only a single employer for which the petition is approved. However, he is allowed to change the employer during his period of stay. Every new employer must have an approved petition before they employ you.
Number of Entries
Unlike some, H-1B is a multiple entry visa with no restriction on the number of entries. You can get out of the US and come back as many times as you wish if the visa is valid. You can go on vacations, take leave, and visit your home country with no restrictions.
When the visa is granted, the person will perform the job for the said employer. However, the employer is independent to decide his work site wherever they wish. He can even employ the worker at another employer’s worksite as long as the services are related to the first employer.
Family Status and Permanent Residency
The holder of an H-1B visa enjoys full rights over his family’s length of stay in the US as long as his visa is valid. His spouse as well as unmarried children, which are under the age of 21, are also allowed to stay in the United States for the said duration. They will apply for a simple process under the H4 visa category. Their visa duration will be the same as that of the holder of an H-1B visa.
H-1B is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in the US for a maximum of 6 years. However, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency. If granted, you will get a US Green Card.
If you think that you got solid skills in your field, then H-1B is your ultimate solution to work in the US. However, the application, as well as the selection process, is not easy. Your employer must assist you at each step of your visa approval if you want to successfully land in the US.