H-1B Visa: Person in Specialty Occupation
The H-1B visa is available for persons who intend to work in "specialty occupations" in the United States. Such occupations include architecture, computer programming, accounting, engineering, nursing and management consulting. Generally, to be eligible for an H-1B visa, the applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree or degree equivalent in a specialty field.
85,000 new H-1B visas are granted each year. Of these, 20,000 visas are restricted to applicants with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Once the yearly numerical limit of H-1B visas has been reached, no more H1-B visas are granted. For this reason, timely filing of an H-1B application is essential.
Duration of Visa
An H-1B nonimmigrant is admitted to the U.S. for a period of up to three years. This time period may be extended but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years. Under certain circumstances, if an H-1B visa holder is applying for employment-based permanent residence, he/she may apply for an extension of the visa beyond six years.
Labor Conditions Application
Prospective U.S. employers of H-1B visa applicants must file a Labor Conditions Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor. Among other things, in the LCA, the employer must attest to the fact that the H-1B applicant will be paid the higher of (i) the actual wage paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications, or (ii) the prevailing wage level for the applicant's occupation in the area of employment.
Family Visa Eligibility
Spouses and minor children (under the age of 21) of H-1B visa holders may apply for an H-4 visa, which allows them to accompany H-1B visa holders during their stay in the U.S. H-4 visa holders are not allowed to work in the U.S.
How We Can Help
A foreign national’s eligibility for an H-1B visa will depend on a variety of factors, including his/her professional qualifications, personal background, and the type of employment he/she intends to carry on in the United States. We can help employers and applicants with the LCA and H-1B visa application process. We have experience with highly complex immigration filings and can prepare petitions for a broad variety of occupational fields. Our multi-disciplinary background in engineering and business is a significant asset, enabling us to fully comprehend and accurately describe the background and qualifications of our technical and business clients. In addition to our legal expertise, our language skills in Spanish and Portuguese make us particularly helpful to our Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese clients.
Family-based Immigration (Permanent Residency)