The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States, allowing U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These specialty occupations typically require specialized knowledge, expertise, or advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and other professional roles. 

U.S. companies commonly use the H-1B visa to hire foreign professionals for roles that are difficult to fill with domestic talent. It allows foreign workers to live and work in the U.S. for a specific period, typically up to three years, with the possibility of extension.

When to apply for H1b visa in 2023?

The specific timing for applying for H-1B visa in 2023 can vary based on several factors, including government policies, annual caps, and individual circumstances. Generally, the H-1B visa application process begins on April 1st of each fiscal year, starting on October 1st. 

This is when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) starts accepting H-1B petitions. Due to high demand, it’s advisable to submit your application as close to April 1st as possible, as there are typically a limited number of H-1B visas available, and they can be filled quickly. It’s recommended to consult with H1B attorney to know up-to-date and accurate information on the H-1B visa application timeline. 

Understanding the H1b Visa Requirements

To qualify for an H-1B visa, you need to meet specific requirements:

  • Educational Qualification: You need a relevant bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent work experience accepted in the field.
  • Employer Sponsorship: The employer must file an H-1B petition on your behalf, stating the terms and conditions of your employment.
  • Non-Dual Intent: You must demonstrate non-dual intent, meaning you have no intention to immigrate to the U.S. permanently.
  • Numerical Cap: H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical cap, so your application needs to be filed during the designated period.
  • Valid Job-Employee Relationship: The employer must establish a valid employer-employee relationship with you, which includes factors like supervisory control, payment of wages, and more.
  • Availability of Visa Numbers: If subject to the annual cap, your application must be selected in the H-1B lottery and allocated a visa number.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Both you and your employer must comply with U.S. immigration laws and regulations throughout the H-1B process.

How to get a H1b visa?

Getting an H-1B visa involves several steps and requires the sponsorship of a U.S. employer. Some of them include:

  • Job Offer from a U.S. Employer: You must first secure a job offer from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor your H-1B visa. The job must be in a specialty occupation that requires specialized knowledge, expertise, or advanced degrees.
  • Labor Condition Application (LCA): Your employer must file an LCA with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA outlines the terms and conditions of your employment, including the prevailing wage for the job in the geographic area.
  • File Form I-129 Petition: Once the LCA is certified by the DOL, your employer can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • USCIS Processing and Approval: USCIS will review the petition and supporting documents. If approved, USCIS will issue an approval notice and a Form I-797, which indicates that your H-1B petition has been accepted.
  • Consular Processing (if Outside the U.S.): If you are outside the U.S. when your H-1B petition is approved, you must apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. You’ll need the Form I-797 approval notice and other required documentation.
  • Change of Status (if Inside the U.S.): If you are already in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status, you may be eligible for a status change to H-1B. This process involves submitting Form I-539 to USCIS.
  • Travel to the U.S. and Employment: Once the H-1B visa or change of status is approved, you can travel to the U.S. and start working for your sponsoring employer in the approved specialty occupation.

How long does it take to get h1b visa?

The timeline to obtain an H-1B visa can vary depending on several factors, including government processing times, your circumstances, and any potential delays. The process can generally take several months, from 1 to 6 months.

How long is the H1b visa valid?

The validity of a H1B Visa is generally for 3 years. It can even be extended for up to 6 years. In certain circumstances, H-1B holders may be eligible for further extensions beyond six years, such as obtaining employment-based permanent residency (green card) or meeting certain other criteria. The specific duration of the H-1B visa validity can vary based on individual circumstances and the nature of the employment.

Need help with your H1B Visa? Contact a H1B lawyer

An immigration lawyer can provide valuable assistance throughout the H-1B visa application process, helping you navigate the complexities and maximize your chances of success. 

They will evaluate your qualifications and ensure you meet the H-1B eligibility criteria, such as having a job offer for a specialty occupation and the required education or work experience.

FAQs on H1B Visa

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa category in the United States. It allows foreign nationals to work temporarily and reside in the U.S. for a specific job with a sponsoring employer. While it doesn't grant permanent residency, it offers the opportunity to work in a specialty occupation and can lead to potential pathways for long-term immigration.
Yes, under certain circumstances, spouses of H-1B visa holders are eligible to obtain work authorization in the U.S. through the H-4 visa category.
To check your H-1B visa status, visit the USCIS Case Status Online page, enter your unique receipt number from Form I-797, and view real-time updates on your application's progress. Alternatively, create a USCIS online account for convenient tracking or use the USCIS Case Status mobile app.