The H-1b visa is an extremely beneficial visa available to foreign professionals wishing to work and live in the United States. To qualify as a professional, the applicant must have a Bachelors degree from a US university or the equivalent from a foreign institution. Individuals that do not have a Bachelors degree from a US university or from a foreign institution can use their years of experience in the field as equivalent.
Many foreign professionals living abroad or in the United States are eligible to obtain the H-1b visa and do not know it. Those that qualify for the H-1b visa are authorized to live and work in the US for a maximum of 6 years. During those 6 years, the H-1b visa holder may obtain an approved Labor Certification from the Department of Labor and ultimately be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (Green Card). Remember, however, that there is a wait after the Labor Certification is approved. Depending on your level of education and experience, you may be eligible to obtain your Green Card within a year or within approximately 5 years. Only those that have a Masters degree or above and several years of experience will be able to apply for their Green Card within a year after their Labor Certification is approved.
US Immigration laws allow the applicant to apply years of experience in the field of profession in lieu of years of education. In specific, Immigration laws accept three years of experience as equivalent to one year of education. Therefore, even if the applicant has never stepped foot in a university in the US or abroad, the applicant can still qualify for the H-1b visa as long as he or she has twelve years of experience in the field. Alternatively, if the applicant has some years of education, he or she can apply three years of experience for each year needed to complete a Bachelors Degree. This means that an applicant that has two years of university and 6 years of on-the-job experience will qualify as a professional for the H-1b visa. In addition, the H-1b applicant must have a job offer from a US company closely related to his or her field of profession.
Requirements for an H-1b visa:
- 1. Have entered the US with a valid visa;
- 2. Have not overstayed the authorized period of time listed on the visa;
- 3. Have a bachelors degree from a US university or a foreign university, or 12 years of experience in the field of sought employment
- 4. Have a job offer with a US company that is closely related to their experience and/or educational background;
- 5. Apply for a change of status to the H-1b visa or for consular process if outside of the US by the deadline; April 1st, 2008.
A valid visa assumes that the visa is up to date and that the person has not overstayed the date on the document. An extremely popular misconception is that the person is still eligible to apply for the H-1b visa having overstayed the period of time allowed on a previous visa. This occurrence is extremely common and tends to get many people in trouble or cause them unnecessary time and expense. We see this time and time again.
As a result of the global economy we live in today, employment of foreign talent is extremely common in the US. If you wait to begin your H-1b visa process, you may end up like the hundreds of thousands of persons whose applications were denied last year. These people received denials simply because the quota (66,000) had been reached before noon the very first day that USCIS began accepting these visa applications. The amount of H-1b applications received by the USCIS was so many that it was forced to have to use a lottery system to determine which applications it would review. This type of decision making had never occurred in the history of the H-1b visa.
Based on the clear advantages that the H-1b visa provides to the visa holder and his or her family, it is an extremely popular employment visa in the United States. The USCIS receives more applications each year and the quota of 66,000 visas per year has not increased. If you satisfy the requirements set out by US Immigration laws and have a job offer in the US, begin your H-1b case today.