1. What is an H1-B visa?
This is a petition that is filed by the employer interested in hiring you. It is filed with the USCIS who determines if you qualify to work in the United States.
2. Is there a limit on how many H1-B visas are accepted?
Yes. This is determined by the number of petitions that the USCIS accepts along with cases that are pending.
3. What is the limit for H1-B visas?
The limit is referred to as the “cap.” Once this is met, no more petitions are accepted for the rest of the year. The cap depends on the degree earned. For those with Bachelor degrees, the cap is 65,000 and for those with a US Master’s degree, it is 20,000.
4. I have a Bachelor degree from my own country. Is that the same as if I earned a Bachelors in the United States?
No. It may have to be analyzed and considered equivalent before you can qualify for the H1-B visa.
5. I have three years of experience in the field of interest, but I don't have a Bachelors or Master’s degree. Can this qualify for an H1-B visa?
No. If you don’t have a degree then you must have plenty of work experience that may qualify you to get an H1-B visa. Three years may match one year of education. You may need at least 12 years of experience if you want to apply for the visa and do not have a Bachelor degree.
6. Can I submit my own petition for the H1-B?
No. The employer needs to file it with the USCIS.
7. Do I have to be in the United States before the petition is filed?
No. You can be in another country when the petition is filed. Make arrangements with the company to determine when would be a good starting date. Upon getting an approval for the H1-B visa you will still need to go to your local U.S. Consulate where you will meet with an officer and they will verify a variety of information to decide whether or not you will have admission to the United States. You must show proof of your education history, work experience, letter of employment by employer, and any other necessary documents they may require before approval. Once approved, you will receive your H1-B visa and a stamp of approval.
8. What is needed outside of the petition when applying for the H1-B visa?
Along with the Labor Condition Application and the I-129 form, a job offer letter from the employer, marketing material from the company, proof of the employer’s ability to pay such as an annual report, income tax returns or other proof that your employer has the availability of specialty occupation should to be included.
9. If I am approved, how long can I stay in the United States on an H1-B visa?
You have up to three years that you can work. You can get an extension for up to three more years.
10. If I transfer to another job, can I get an additional three years added to my visa?
No. You can only work three years total upon the approval of your H1-B visa and your initial arrival in the United States. You can have the employer ask for an extension for employment that would extend for another three years.
11. Can I get another extension after the six years are exhausted?
No. You may have to leave the United States for one year and then re-apply for another H1-b visa.
12. What if I am approved for an extension, but my visa expired?
You will likely only need to renew your visa if you decide to leave the country and return to the United States to work. If you continue to work and your visa expired, you can continue to work since you received the approval by immigration for your extension.
13. For the extension, what documents are required?
Your employer will likely need to send in your job description, a copy of the job offer in writing that includes the job title and salary along with signatures from the employer and you, marketing material from the company, and any annual report that is distributed by the company.
14. Am I required to provide any additional documents for the extension to be filed?
Yes. You will likely need to send in a copy of the I-797, copy of the I-94, a copy of transcripts and a diploma you received from your University, a copy of letters of experience from previous employers, a resume, three of the last paychecks you received.
15. How long does the H1-B visa petition take to be accepted or denied?
Typically, it can take anywhere from two months to six months, but it completely depends on the case and the location in which is coming from.
16. Can I have the petition expedited?
Yes. This will cost an additional amount of money ($1225). It may not be the best decision to pay for a petition to be expedited unless you are filing a transfer as transfers allows you to start working immediately for a new company. If you expedite the petition for your first job, you will still need to wait until October 1st before working.
17. How long will it take if it was expedited?
It will take about 15 days, but this does not mean that it is approved.
18. After I get an extension to continue my H1-B status, do I need to bring anything with me other than my current visa if I leave the United States and want to return?
No. You should also bring your extension approval along with the visa in your passport.
19. Is there a deadline to apply for H1-B?
Yes, you must apply by April 1st or you must wait to work for the following year.
20. Once I get the approval to work, can I start working right away?
No. You can start working by October 1st.
21. Am I required to pay taxes while I am in the United States on a H1-B visa?
Yes. You will need to pay taxes each year since you are expected to pay for Medicare and social security taxes from your paychecks. You are eligible for social security benefits.
22. I am married and would like to bring my spouse with me to the United States. Is that possible if I have a H1-B visa?
Yes. Your spouse can travel with you on an H4 visa which allows your spouse to study in the United States.
23. What if I have children? Can they come with me too along with my spouse?
Yes. You will need to apply for the H4 dependent visa.
24. Is there a specific age that children will not qualify to be considered on a H4?
Yes. Once the child reaches the age of 21, they cannot be considered a dependent on a H4 visa.
25. When should I apply for the H4 visa? Should I wait until I get approved for my H1-B visa?
No. You should aim to get the interviews at the same time.
26. Can my children go to school while I am on my H1-B visa or do I have to file for an F-1 visa for them?
No. They can attend school on a H4 visa alone.
27. I am considered an F-1 student and have been working on an OPT. I found a company that wants to hire me full time. Does the company need to apply for a H1-B via for me?
Yes, the employer should petition for you if they wish to employ you beyond your OPT period.
28. What information will the company need to provide to get my status changed to a H1-B from an F-1?
Your employer needs to provide evidence to the USCIS that the company requires a Bachelor Degree for the position you qualify for. The company will also need to provide that other employees are required a Bachelor Degree for similar and/or same positions. They may need to provide a list of internal job postings and advertisements displaying the requirement for a Bachelor Degree in the specific area of expertise that you have.