The H-1B visa filing window will open March 1st, with USCIS accepting applications for skilled workers in fields such as engineering, IT and medicine to live and work in the U.S. for up to six years.
The H-1B non immigrant visa is submitted by or on behalf of US companies to allow them to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require specialist knowledge or technical expertise. The visa, which attracts many thousands of applicants from countries including China and India, has an annual cap of 85,000, with 20,000 of those reserved for those holding post graduate degrees from U.S. education institutions. After six years of living and working in the U.S. on this temporary visa, there are options to apply for permanent residency, subject to eligibility requirements.
What’s the process?
H-1B applications run on a lottery process and the competition to obtain a visa fierce – with applications typically far exceeding the number of visas available.
There is an initial registration period, which this year opens on March 1st, whereby employers will submit some basic information and indicate their intent to apply for an H-1B visa. Typically, 3 weeks later, through the lottery process, USCIS invites 65,000 of those who have registered to submit an application. H-1B visas (subject to eligibility and application review) are usually approved within 4-6 months of application – with the intention of it being ready for the start of the following financial year in October.
What is the main eligibility criteria?
- A sponsor with a job offer in a role that requires technical expertise or specialty knowledge
- Documentation proving educational credentials in the relevant field of work (degree certificate, transcript etc)
- Documentation from the employer to show a lack of qualified applicants already residing in the U.S.
Where can I find more information on the H-1B visa?
In this video, Attorney and Partner Francis Fungsang, who explains how the H-1B lottery process works for companies looking to bring skilled workers to the U.S.
Do you need assistance with completing your H-1B visa registration and/or subsequent application? Get in touch with our team today in order to prepare everything ahead of the registration deadline. Check out this page with more information on the H-1B visa.