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Q: What is an H-1B visa?

A: The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine.

Q: What are the basic requirements for H-1B?

A: The job must qualify as a specialty occupation and directly relate to the applicants major area of study by meeting one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position;
  • The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position;
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

Q: Does an H-1B visa cost the company?

A: Yes, the cost of the H-1B visa is covered by the company.  Companies are recommended to pay for the H-1B which will be needed for the applicant to work for the company.  It’s highly recommended to contact an immigration attorney if considering having the employee pay for any part of the H-1B visa cost.

Q: How long are H-1Bs able to work on H-1B status?

A: H-1B visa holders are normally approved for up to 36 months or for the length of time the work assignment is issued.  An Extension of H-1B is allowed for another 36 months for a total of 6 years.  If the applicant has an approved I-140, part of the green card application, the applicant may extend his or her H-1B visa status beyond the 6 years while waiting for the green card to be issued.  

Q: Why do H-1B applicants need a specialized job board to find job opportunities?

A: Unfortunately, many companies only hire US applicants and avoid international applicants.  The reasons vary depending upon the company and those involved in the hiring process.  The reason most often sited are cost, time and uncertainty.  Total cost for an H-1B visa is less than 1 months salary but often the cost is drawn from a particular budget which may limit hiring managers.  Limitations of US immigration policies negatively affect both time and uncertainty and with increasing H-1B cap applications many companies are opting not to purse international applicants.  For these reasons and others, international applicants focus their efforts on job openings specifically approved for H-1B sponsorship.