H-1B Temporary Worker Visa

The H-1B category is available to workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge. The offered position must require, and the foreign national must possess, at least a Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, in order to qualify for an H-1B visa.

Many US businesses use the H-1B category to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. Examples of employees that may need an H-1B visa include:

  • International students working on an EAD card under the CPT or OPT program
  • International employees working on a TN visa who are planning to apply for a green card.
  • Prospective international employees in an other visa status e.g. H-4, L-2, J-1, F-1, H-1B workers with a cap exempt organization
  • Prospective international employees who are currently living abroad.

The H-1B category is subject to an annual numeric cap; a total of 65,000 H-1B petitions (Regular Cap) are permitted per fiscal year. Up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the Regular Cap for H-1B applicants from Chile and Singapore. An additional 20,000 H-1B petitions are reserved for persons who hold US advanced degrees (Master’s Exemption Cap) – applicants in this category may continue to file new petitions against the Regular Cap until the 65,000 limit has been reached.

Some H-1B petitions are exempt from the annual cap. Exempt petitions include those requesting an extension or amendment of previously approved H-1B status, or a petition filed by an institution of higher education or related/affiliated nonprofit entity, nonprofit research organization, or governmental research organization.

H-1B employees are limited to a maximum stay in the US of six years, issued in three year increments. In instances where the H-1B employee will be required to remain outside the US for extended periods of time (exclusive of vacations), the employee should track periods of stay in the US in order to benefit from the entire six years of the permitted stay.

Additional Information

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