Understanding the H-1B Visa

There are several kinds of work visa's available in the United States but perhaps one of the most popular and misunderstood is the H-1B program. H-1B visas are granted to those people who have at least a Bachelor’s degree and who will work in a professional position. A person can have a Bachelor’s degree equivalency in a specialty using his foreign degree or a combination of education and work experience. An H-1B visa has a maximum duration of six years, It is issued for a period of 3 years per instance. It is possible to obtain extensions beyond the maximum period under specific circumstances.

What you need to know about H1B

With the H-1B visa program, workers must secure employment sponsorship before working in the United States. There may be limitations as to the qualification of employers who may hire workers under H-1B visas.

Sponsorships – Workers must be sponsored by an employer. Should the visa holder lose their job, they must find another sponsor or leave the United States. The H-1B visa allows the employee to work for the H-1B sponsoring employer only. He cannot work for another employer.

Family members – Workers are allowed to bring their spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 with them to the United States. Family members are provided an H-4 visa which does not allow them to accept employment

Freelancing – Workers are not allowed to accept freelancing work of any type while they are in the United States on an H-1B visa

While the H-1B visa is useful for many professionals with at least a Bachelor's Degree, providing the proper paperwork can still be confusing. There are things to consider like minimum wage, job location, specialty worker and specialty position, among others. Workers who are considering seeking an H-1B visa should consider hiring a firm who has expertise in immigration matters. This is especially true for those who wish to establish permanent residency in the future.

The rules allow for an extension of an H-1B visa beyond six years, provided an application for labor certification has been filed a year in advance or that an immigrant petition (I-140) has been approved. For those interested in an H-1B visa or who have an H-1B visa and are attempting to stay in the United States permanently, contact Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo for help.