Navigating the waves of bureaucracy: a detailed guide to the U.S. H1-B visa.


The international work arena is diverse and thrilling, and a crucial means of exploring it is through the temporary H-1 visa.

This visa is available to individuals with highly specialized skills and top fashion models. It provides opportunities in the U.S. industry, as described in I.N.A. § 101(a)(15)(H), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(H).

The H-1 visa is commonly associated with IT and other high-tech industries, but it should be noted that it is not exclusive to these fields. Actually, it is open to a broad range of specialties, including accountants, lawyers, librarians, nutritionists, and various scientific or medical professionals.

One interesting aspect of the H-1B visa is its lack of limitations in certain situations.

There is no limit on the number of H-1B visa petitions that can be approved for individuals employed by institutions of higher education, affiliated nonprofit organizations, nonprofit research organizations, or governmental organizations. This also applies to individuals who have already been included in the yearly visa limit, including those who are seeking to renew their previous H-1B visas.

However, there is competition among the remaining applicants for H-1B visas as only 85,000 visas are available each fiscal year starting from October 1. It is almost always the case that the annual limit is reached, and once this occurs, no additional H-1B visas can be approved until the start of the following fiscal year.

However, it should be noted that not all of the 85,000 visas are available without restrictions. Specifically, 20,000 visas are set aside for individuals who have obtained a master's degree or higher from a U.S. academic institution. Additionally, a portion of the remaining 65,000 visas are reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore due to trade agreements signed with the United States.

The H-1B visa landscape is complex and interesting, providing opportunities for various professionals to contribute to the U.S. industry.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the H-1 visa?

It may seem like a challenging task to navigate through the maze of visa bureaucracy, but there are some helpful aspects when it comes to the H-1B visa.

Initially, upon obtaining the visa, you will have the legal authorization to work for the H-1B sponsor in the United States. We are referring to a long-term stay that could last up to six years, with the potential for extensions, rather than a brief visit.

An additional advantage is the opportunity to include your family in this exciting experience. Visas are obtainable for your spouse and children who are under the age of 18. However, 'v' represents a greater value. Actually, the spouse is eligible to apply for a work permit. However, it should be noted that minor children in H-4 status are not permitted to work.

There are no restrictions on freedom of movement.

An H-1B visa allows you to enter and exit the United States without any restrictions, or you may choose to remain in the country until your visa status expires.

However, there are precautions that need to be taken into consideration.

If the employer chooses to end the employment prior to the authorized stay's completion, they would be required to cover the cost of the return trip to the employee's home country. This statement holds true even if the reason for termination was due to the employee's actions or behavior.

Please be cautious.

This benefit is applicable only if you are terminated from your job involuntarily, and not if you resign voluntarily.

Obtaining an H-1B visa can be challenging, but understanding the benefits and protections it offers can make it a memorable professional and personal experience.

Do you need a lawyer?

Picture: You are standing at the edge of a trampoline, prepared to take a significant leap into a professional future in the United States. However, there is a hurdle that must be overcome before diving into the ocean of H-1B visa opportunities - obtaining an employer. That is correct: the prospective employer holds the key to unlocking a world of opportunities.

It is in the best interest of the potential employer to offer the highest level of support.

Typically, this implies that the individual needs to employ a lawyer who can assist them in navigating the procedure.

Every year, there is intense competition for H-1B visas, as the number of applicants is much higher than the number of available visas. Similar to a skilled coach, an attorney can assist you in preparing your application in the most effective manner, ensuring that all the necessary documents are in order when you submit your application and that it is filed prior to the expiration of the visas.

Consider the entire process as a race where a competent attorney can act as your coach. They can assist you in the preparation and ensure that you are fully prepared when the race commences. A strong start can make all the difference in the H-1B visa race, just as it can in any other race.

To acquire an H-1B visa, you need to have a job offer from a U.S. employer and get approval for a labor condition application. The job requires the applicant to possess a degree that is relevant to the position or have work experience that is equivalent to the complexity of the job. Certain exceptions exist, such as models, who may be eligible for qualification without possessing a college degree.

If an individual does not possess a degree, their work experience may be taken into account. The USCIS considers three years of experience to be equivalent to one year of undergraduate study. In order to be eligible, it is necessary to have the intention of pursuing a skilled occupation and, if mandated by the state, obtaining a professional license.

To obtain an H-1B visa, the applicant must possess qualifications and experience that are relevant and appropriate for the position being offered. Not all occupations may find it suitable. For instance, non-degreed business people, athletes, or entertainment professionals may not find it appropriate. In certain professions, such as nursing, it is uncommon for the H-1B visa to be approved as these occupations typically necessitate a bachelor's degree that is of shorter duration than what is required by the H-1B visa.

The Application Process: Timelines and Legal References.

The H1-B visa application process, which is governed by rules set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, begins with the filing of the Labor Department Certification (LCA) by the employer. This stage can take several weeks to complete.

Once the LCA is approved, a petition must be filed with USCIS (as required by INA Section 214(c)), but no earlier than April 1 of each fiscal year. USCIS will generally continue to accept petitions for one week or until the maximum number of petitions for that fiscal year has been reached. When this happens, USCIS uses a random selection process-also called a "lottery"-to determine which petitions will be processed. If the employer's petition is selected, it will take USCIS 2 to 6 months to process it at this point, and if it is approved, it will be necessary to apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate of the country in which the applicant resides. This second step can take one to three weeks, depending on the volume of applications.

There is a limit to the number of H1-B visas available.

The U.S. government provides 85,000 H1-B visas annually, which are categorized into two groups: 65,000 for individuals with a bachelor's degree and 20,000 for individuals with a master's degree from a U.S. institution. Due to the significant demand for these visas, the selection process is determined through a lottery system.

What is the length of time for an H1-B visa and is it possible to renew it?

According to INA Section 214(g)(4), the H1-B visa is initially granted for a duration of three years, but it can be extended for a maximum of six years.

According to Section 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act (AC21), visa holders who have initiated the green card application process may be granted extensions beyond the six-year limit.

The responsibilities of an H1-B visa holder.

Obtaining an H1-B visa is a privilege that entails several responsibilities. It is crucial to comply with these responsibilities to maintain legal status in the United States.

To maintain your employment status, you are required to work for the same employer who sponsored your visa throughout its validity period. Failure to do so will result in termination of your H1-B status.

Adhering to the stipulations outlined in the employment agreement, which encompasses payment, work hours, and duties assigned to the job.

Please inform USCIS about any changes, such as a change in employer or a decrease in salary. It is possible that the new employer will need to file a new H1-B visa petition.

Please refrain from breaking any laws in the United States. It is crucial to comply with all U.S. laws, including federal, state, or local regulations, just like in any other country. Failure to comply with the regulations may lead to the cancellation of your visa and potential deportation.

You must possess a valid passport throughout your stay in the United States. In case of expiration, you are required to renew it by contacting your country's embassy or consulate located in the United States.

It is important to abide by laws and regulations as it not only safeguards you legally but also demonstrates your respect towards the country that has welcomed you.

The H1-B visa and its impact on families: A matter of unity.

When considering the option of relocating to the USA with your family, it is important to note that the immigration process involves not only the individual, but also the family as a whole. Due to this reason, apart from the H1-B visa, there exists a corresponding visa known as H4. This visa permits the spouse and children (below 21 years of age) of the H1-B visa holder to accompany them, reside in the U.S. for the entire duration of the H1-B visa, and enroll in schools, universities, and vocational training institutions. However, they are not allowed to work unless they are granted a work permit.

To acquire a work permit, the H4 visa holder must demonstrate that the H1-B visa holder has started the process of applying for a green card. This modification was implemented by the "Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers" regulation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2015.

Obtaining an H1-B visa is a process, but being able to bring family members along allows the applicant to share experiences and achievements with them.

Despite the intricacies of bureaucracy, the importance of the family is acknowledged and safeguarded.

In conclusion.

The process of acquiring an H1-B visa can be intricate and may take a considerable amount of time. By appropriately planning and preparing, it is possible to navigate through the bureaucracy and attain the American dream.

It can be challenging to navigate through the bureaucratic process, but the ultimate objective of working and living in the United States is a valuable pursuit.

Abogado Sarah Silvestri
Immigration Attorney

"Building your future in a new country, with us by your side"