H1-B visa program lets highly skilled workers enter America

H1-B visas let highly skilled immigrants work in America.

The U.S. government acknowledges the need that many American companies have to fill positions for specialty occupations, and that it may be difficult to find qualified candidates domestically. That is why specialized nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs like the H1-B and EB-3 were created. This article will look specifically at the H1-B visa program.

What is the H1-B visa?

The H1-B visa is a nonimmigrant visa program that grants recipients the ability to come to America to work for a period of up to three years (extensions may be granted in some cases to lengthen the amount of time). Unlike other visa programs, the H1-B is a "dual intent" visa, meaning that it can be an avenue of entry both for people only seeking to work temporarily in the U.S. as well as those wishing to apply for permanent residence through a "green card."

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are three types of H1-B visas available for a variety of job seekers. These include:

  • H1-B (Specialty Occupations) - the job, because of its complex nature, requires particular skill or knowledge usually requiring a minimum education of at least a bachelor's degree
  • H1-B2 (Department of Defense Researcher and Development Project Worker) - the person applying for the visa has a bachelor's degree or higher (or the foreign equivalent of such a degree through education and/or practical experience) and will be working on a research or development project that is "provided for under a government-to-government agreement administered by the U.S. Department of Defense"
  • H1-B3 (Fashion Models) - the applicant is a "fashion model of prominence" who has the "distinguished merit and ability" required for a particular position

The H1-B visa cap

As is the case with other employment-based visas, there is a numerical cap on the number of H1-B visas available annually. The U.S. government has determined that only 65,000 H1-B visas will be issued each year, and the first 20,000 of those are earmarked for applicants with a Master's Degree or higher education. Since the number of applicants typically far exceeds the annual cap (in 2015, for example, there were reportedly more than 230,000 applications), the government issues H1-B visas on a lottery system.

Annual application deadline

The government issues H1-B visas on October 1, so it begins accepting H1-B visa applications on April 1. Since the program has proven so popular in recent years, applications are only accepted for a short time thereafter. If you are interested in seeking an H1-B visa, you need to get your application materials ready and submitted in a timely fashion. To get started, speak with an experienced immigration attorney like those at the San Antonio offices of Trevino Immigration Law. Call the firm today at 210-544-5105 or send them an email for more information.