The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology. You may be eligible for an H-1B visa to work for the business or an organization in the United States if the occupation that normally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field of study (e.g., engineers, scientists or mathematicians), and you have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent (based on education and/or experience) in a field related to the position.
Initial period of stay in the United States: Up to 3 years. Extensions possible in up to 3 year increments. Maximum period of stay generally 6 years (extensions beyond 6 years may be possible).
Could an H-1B Visa work for you? Ask yourself the following questions to see if you might qualify:
- Do you have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent (based on relevant experience)?
- Will you be working in a “specialty occupation?”
- Will you be earning a wage?
If you answered yes to most of the questions above, then you may likely qualify for an H-1B Visa.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas (5000 out of these are allocated to professionals from Chile and Singapore) each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education (or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities), a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap. Cap numbers are often used up very quickly, so it is important to plan in advance if you will be filing for an H-1B visa that is subject to the annual H-1B numerical cap. The U.S. government’s fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. H-1B petitions can be filed up to 6 months before the start date, which is generally April 1 for an October 1 start date.
For the year 2017, USCIS will Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2018 Beginning April 3
All cap-subject H-1B petitions filed before April 3, 2017, for the FY 2018 cap will be rejected.