H-1B visa summary
- The H-1B visa is a US work visa for professionals from all over the world.
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, is the agency that is responsible for processing and issuing all US visas, including the H-1B visa.
- The H-1B visa is one of the most sought after US work visas for foreign nationals who want to live and work in the US in a specialty occupation.
- An H-1B visa is typically valid for up to six (6) years and entitles your spouse (husband/wife) and children to accompany you and live in the US.
- The H-1B visa is a 'dual intent' visa that allows you to apply for a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency).
- After six (6) years, if no other arrangements are made, the H-1B expires and the person must leave the U.S. for one (1) year before re-entry.
- A person who is granted an H-1B visa may begin working legally under the visa on the first day of the fiscal year, which is the twelve months beginning on 01 October of one year and ending with 30 September of the following year. Once granted a visa, a person may begin working on 01 October or after.
- Currently, the US government allows applications to be accepted on 01 April of the same year (six months prior to the beginning of the fiscal year).
- The H1B visa 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. The full list of occupations is available here.
- If the employee you wish to employ holds a Master's Degree or higher from a US university, they are eligible to apply for one of 20,000 H-1B visas set aside for people with that level of education. These are the Advance Degree Exception category, and are in addition to the 65,000 standard H-1B visas offered each year.
- For Fiscal Year 2009, the quota for H-1B visa petitions was reached on 07 April 2008.
- For Fiscal Year 2010, the quota for H-1B visa petitions was reached on 21 December 2009.
- For Fiscal Year 2011, the quota for H-1B visa petitions was reached on 26 January 2011.
- For Fiscal Year 2012, the quota for H-1B visa petitions was reached on 22 November 2011.
- For Fiscal Year 2013, the quota for H-1B visa petitions has not been met yet.