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H1B Visa

One of the most sought after visas in the entire world, the US H1B visa is used by the US employers to employ professionals in order to fulfill vacancies at specialist positions. The H1B visa is essentially attached to an employer and if the worker is dismissed from the services of the employer, he or she must leave the US, or find another employer ready to sponsor his or her H1B visa or apply for a change in the status of his visa into other non-immigrant visas.

Features of H1B visa

  • Some of the expert occupations covered under the H1B visa include chemistry, social sciences, medicine and health, IT, engineering, architecture, mathematics, physical sciences, law, arts, accounting, education and business specialties. To be eligible for this visa, the beneficiary must hold at least a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent in his or her field.
  • In case the beneficiary quits or loses the job for some reason, he or she has 10 days to leave the US or to apply for the change in his visa status.
  • There is no minimum mandatory period for which the beneficiary needs to serve his original employer. The H1B visa carries a portability clause using which the beneficiary can apply for a change in job to a different employer who can sponsor the H1B visa.
  • If you remain in the US on a H1B visa for a period of 6 years, without obtaining the status of a permanent resident, you must leave the country for at least one year before re-applying for another H1B visa.
  • Families of the H1B visa beneficiaries are allowed to accompany the workers and reside in the US provided that they get H-4 visa. Note : Families include spouses and all the children below the age of 21 years.
  • Before the submission of the H1B permit, the employer needs to get the Labor Condition Application (LCA- Form ETA 9035).

Validity of the H1B visa

Under usual circumstances, the H1B visa comes with tenure of 3 years. In some cases, it is extended by a period of 3 years. But it isn’t renewed post the 6 year period under normal circumstances. There are a few exceptions though under which the visa can be further extended.

Cap on the number of H1B visa

There is an annual cap on the number of H1B visas that can be issued in a year. At present, the cap is set at 65,000 annual H1B visas. Apart from this, a certain number of visas are reserved for professionals coming from Singapore and Chile. If this quota remains unfulfilled, it is merged with the 65,000 cap for the general H1B visas.

Each year, lakhs of applicants apply for this visa and their selection is done with a lottery system that is automated and highly secure. In most cases, the applications are closed within a week of being opened. The applications usually open on the first weekday of the month of April each year.