H1B visa- All about It!

Countries: USACategory: Work Visas

H1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa category for short-term workers. An employer must offer a job and apply for the individual’s H1B visa petition with US Immigration Department and to have an H1B visa issued.

Who is eligible for H1B visa?

The H1B visa is issued to the individuals who are specialized in their respective fields and to obtain the H1B visa a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent is required.

Annual Distribution of H1B visa:

  • H1B distributions vary time to time. For the fiscal year 2017, the H1B cap is expected to be 65,000. For the individuals who have a U.S master’s degree or higher advanced degree, the H1B cap is available for 20,000 petitions. If USCIS receives more than 20,000 petitions then a computer generated random selection process will be done to select 20,000 petitions. The process is also known as ‘lottery’ system.

USCIS fee for filing for the H1B visa:

Employer/H1 sponsor will be paying the assigned fee for H1B petition. The fee varies from $1570 to $2320. For the breakup of the amount, please follow the table (Lawyer fee might be incurred):

[table id=22 /]

The stay is limited to 6 years with initial approval for 3 years and can be extended up to 3 more years.

H1B limits:

Re-stamping H1B:

In any country where there is an American consulate. It can be done based on H1B extension approval.

Stay Period for H-1B visa holder:

An H-1B visa holder can stay in USA for a maximum of six years. Depending on the Employer’s regulations and requirement for the foreign worker.

H-1B Visa Processing and Transfer Processing Time:

H1-B visa is premium processed with a span minimum of 15 days and a maximum of  3-4 months. Whereas the H-1B Transfer processing can take a minimum of 6 to 8 months and a maximum of 9 to 11 months.

Multiple Employers:

H1B immigrant may work for more than one U.S. employer, but must have a Form I-129 petition approved by each employer.

Travel

H1B visa can be multiple entry visas, which will allow the individual to travel in and out of USA for any number of times, within the precise visa validity period.

Work

H1B immigrants may only work for the petitioning U.S. employer, and an employer may place the H1B worker on the worksite of another employer.

An H1B immigrant can go on vacations, sick/maternity/paternity leave or on strike. As long as an immigrant is associated with the employer there is no issue in taking any of the above-mentioned leaves.

Family Status

The H1B visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children, who are under 21 years are allowed to stay in the United States under the H4 category for the same duration as the H1B status.

Permanent Residence (Green Card)

An H1B holder is entitled to seek permanent residency  in USA.

Changing Employer?

H1B can be transferred to a new employer.

One can also start working for the new employer upon the reception of H1 transfer case.

Investments/Finance

  • H1B visa holder can buy or sell real estate or any other property in USA.
  • H1B visa holder can purchase lottery tickets
  • H1B visa holder can invest in the stock market as well.

Should the H1B holder be working at all times?

As long as the employer/employee association exists, an H1B holder is still in status. An H1B immigrant may work in full or part-time employment and continue to be in status. An H1B immigrant may

  • apply for holiday
  • apply for sick/maternity/paternity leave
  • go on strike
  • or otherwise be dormant without disturbing his or her status

A lot depends on the working relationship of the visa holder. Just like other employees, the H1 B visa holder can enjoy all the benefits of employment.

Circumstance Change:

No need to worry as long as the things are smooth and steady. The H1B visa holder can have questions regarding a future step. As long as the immigrant continues to provide H1B services for a U.S. employer, changes will not have any major consequence on visa status. An immigrant may change employers without creating any changes in his/her H1 B status. On the other hand, the future H1B employer must file a new Form I-129 petition for the immigrant before he or she begins working for the new employer

The merger of an H1B employer’s business will not affect the immigrant’s status in many cases. Any change in the work performed by the visa holder other than stated in the law, there may be a violation. For example, after the H1 B employer’s sale of business, if the visa holder works in a capability other than the specialty occupation petitioned for, it is, without a doubt, a status violation.

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