H-1B Special Worker/Temporary Employment Visa

H1-B is the most popular non-immigrant visa: it allows US companies and organizations to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, and has special value as a ‘dual intent’ visa.  This means that employees are permitted to continue working for the company under an H-1B visa extension while applying for a green card.

H1-B visa requirements include the following:

  • US employer must have an employer-employee relationship with worker
  • Employer must prove that the employee has a U.S. Bachelor’s or higher degree as required by the position to be filled
  • Employer must demonstrate that the position requires specialized knowledge
  • Employer must establish that it has a valid business need for the employee
  • Employer must agree to pay prevailing wage, or higher, for the position
  • An H-1B visa number must be available when the employer files the petition (except in the case of petitions exempt from quotas).

Defining a Specialty Occupation

  • Occupation requires at minimum a US Bachelor’s degree or international equivalent in a specific discipline
  • Generally refers to complex or unique expertise fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine
  • In some cases, extensive experience in the field can substitute as a degree equivalency.

Quotas and Timelines for H-1B Visa

  • There is a 65,000 quota on available new H-1B petition filings
  • Most new applications must be filed by April 1st
  • The visa distribution process begins each year starting October 1st
  • There are some limited quota exceptions (such as workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, and workers for institutions of higher learning, nonprofit research organizations, or government research organizations)
  • It is important to petition at least 6 months in advance since cap numbers fill up quickly, sometimes in the first month.

Timeframe for H-1B Visa

  • Initial approval can be valid for up to 3 years
  • Most new applications must be filed by April 1st
  • Subsequent extensions can extend the H-1B status for a total of 6 years
  • Status may be extended further (past statutory limit) in some cases when an employment based immigrant application process is pending.

How Schunk Law Can Help

Schunk Law brings years of expertise and experience to these sometimes complex filings.

We can help you determine if H-1B is your best pathway to bringing in the employees you need, and are happy to be of assistance with all aspects of preparing and filing your petition.  This includes:

  • Documenting eligibility for employer and worker
  • Preparing the best and strongest case for immigration officer
  • Filing petition
  • Advising on employer’s legal obligations re petition in event of audit
  • Following up on petition for future changes such as extensions.