An H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa.  This is an employment based visa in which an employer agrees to sponsor an alien who is either in the US in lawful status or who is outside of the US.  It is the position, not the alien’s qualifications which set the requirements for the visa.  The position must be one in which a Bachelor’s Degree or the equivalent is the minimum for employment, the industry standard is such that this is a typical requirement and the alien must possess the stated degree.  These requirements make this a “specialty occupation” visa.  Additionally, employers are required to pay prevailing wage for the position.  This is determined by the Department of Labor.

The visa petition may be filed by the employer on April 1st of each year for an October 1st start date.  There are only 65,000 visas available for this category each year.  People with Masters’ degrees from the US are eligible for an additional 20,000 visas.  Because about 4 times as many petitions are filed than there are visas, a lottery is run after the first few days of filing each year.  Obtaining a receipt notice is truly like winning the lottery.

Since this is an employer sponsored visa, many employers have shied away from this visa in recent years as they only have about a 20-25 percent chance of having the petitions chosen.  However, certain nonprofit companies may be cap exempt and can apply for these visas throughout the year.

For more information, please contact the office.