In the article you will find information about H1B . Some of the topics covered are

  • What is H1B Visa?
  • How to get H1B Visa?
  • Quota Limits
  • Application Processing Time
  • Application Deadline
  • Working  in USA
  • Latest Cap Count
  • Stamping and Interview

What is H1B work visa?

H-1B is non-immigrant dual intent visa, which allows companies to hire foreign workers for specialty occupations. Here is partial list of occupations that are eligible to to sponsor H1B  – Engineer (Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Industrial, Civil, Chemical, Biomedical, …). Architecture, Maths, Physics, Life Science, law, accounting and so many other areas.

How to Get H1B

Employer must sponsor H1B. Individual person cannot apply for H1 on their own (self-sponsor). Usually, companies will work with an immigration attorney to apply for H1B. After job is offered company will send required documents to the attorney. They will contact the employee get other required H1B documents. Attorney will then prepare the application and submit to USCIS for approval.

Quota/Cap Numbers

There is a limit on number of visas available per fiscal year.

  • General Cap – 65,000
  • Advanced Degree Cap – 20,00

AS per USCIS Fiscal starts on October 1 of each years and ends on Sep, 30 of next year. When filing H1B petition, start date can be requested maximum of 6 months from the date when petition is submitted.

For example – H1B  petition submitted on April 1, 2010 request start date of Oct 1 , 2010. If petition is submitted on May 1, 2010, then start date from October 1, 2010 to Nov 1, 2010 can be requested.

If you have completed Advanced degree from U.S. Universities, there is additional 20,000 H1B cap. In previous few years, H-1B  cap was exhausted in first week of H-1B filing. Due to economy and Neufled memo, number of H1B 2011  petitions submitted this is much less compared to previous few years.

Links to H-1B  Cap count updates table.

Employers that fall under Non-Profit and Research organizations can sponsor H1B, which are Cap-exempt.

How to Get the visa

Refer to this details blog post about – How to Get H1B Visa.

  1. Within US ( from different visa type)
  2. Apply for H1 while you are outside US ( say India)

Processing Time

If H1 application is submitted under regular processing, it can take upto 3 months for USCIS to review the application and make decision. If Request For Evidence (RFE) is issued, then it might delay the process.

By paying additional $1000, H1B petition can be submitted through Premium processing. USCIS will take 15 days to decide on your petition status. When USCIS receives your H1 petition, Receipt number will be assigned and mailed back to the petitioner. You will have to ask your attorney or employer for the receipt number.

USCIS the H1B receipt number, you can check the status of your application at USCIS Case Status Online web page.

Application Deadline

There is no deadline to apply for H1b petition. IF H1B cap numbers are available, you can apply any time. For example, USCIS will accept H1 petitions form April 1, 2010 for FY 2011 with start date of October 1, 2010. If you get a job in November 2010 and H1 cap is still available, then you can apply for H! application, once its approved, you can start working for your employer.

Students in OPT can continue to work for the employer, when H1B is approved with Change of status, then your status will automatically change from F1 OPT to H1B.

Working in USA on H1 Visa

USCIS will issue H1 for 6 years in total (2x block of  3 years). H1B holder can work only for the employer who sponsored their H1B Visa. It its il-llegal to earn income other than employer while on H1B.  It is possible to have concurrent H1B , that will enable you to work for 2 different employers.

Students used to prefer working on OPT (Optional Practical Training) as long as possible. Because, under OPT status, you are not required to pay around 7% FICA (Social Security and Medicare) Taxes. Basically, you will get additional 7% income. H1B holders are required to pay  FICA taxes.

Note – This page will be updated frequently. Always seek professional help from Immigration attorney. Immigration law in U.S. is complicated, based on your unique situation, attorney will able able to give you right solution.

Stamping and Interview

After H1B Visa is approved there are several cases that would decide if you need to go for H1B stamping. [Video - H1B interview  Mock Interview]

  1. With I-94: Generally if your H1B  (I-797) is approved with I-94 then you can start working from the start date and you should be already in US.
  2. Without I-94: You must get H1 Visa stamping before you can start working. This happens when H1 is approved without Change of Status.
  3. Outside US: If your H1 is approved while you are living outside US.

Refer to the following articles about H1B stamping and interview process.

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