H-1B Visas Are Employer-Sponsored Petitions For Specialty Fields

An Experienced Immigration Attorney Can Streamline The Application Process

An H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to live and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis for up to six years. The foreign worker must have a job offer from a U.S. company.

The employer or organization is the petitioner. It files the H-1B petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the individual (the beneficiary). The beneficiary cannot apply for an H-1B visa without an employer sponsor. An H-1B visa allows the beneficiary's spouse and children under the age of 21 to live in the U.S. as long as the beneficiary is employed. However, the spouse and children cannot work in the U.S. without obtaining their own work visa.

The Law Office of Mary L. Field assists employers and individuals in Greater Chicago and throughout the United States with the H-1B visa application process.

What Type Of Work Qualifies For An H-1B Visa?

H-1B visas are reserved for foreign-born professionals who have a bachelor's degree or the equivalent of a bachelor's degree, and who work in a field that requires highly specialized knowledge. Examples of the fields that qualify include architecture, education, technology, biotechnology, scientific research, medicine, finance, the arts and business.

Although an individual may work in H-1B status for up to six years, a petition for an H-1B visa can only be approved for a maximum of three years at a time. If an employer wishes to petition for a worker to remain in the U.S. beyond the initial three-year period, an extension of stay is requested. If an individual who is in H-1B status wishes to pursue a new job in the U.S., he or she must have another H-1B petition filed on his or her behalf by the new prospective employer.

H-1B Quota

H-1B visas are limited by legislation to 65,000 new H-1B visas per year, with an additional 20,000 available to individuals with a U.S. master's degree or higher. Every year, significantly more H-1B applications are received by USCIS than there are H-1B visas available. Current policy is for USCIS to conduct a lottery to select which applications are accepted into the quota. The unaccepted applications are returned.

Every year, the lottery selection occurs in April. April 1 is the earliest date upon which an H-1B application can be submitted into the current year's quota. If selected, that visa would be available October 1 of the same year.

Attorney Mary L. Field has extensive experience submitting H-1B visa applications into the quota and does everything possible to ensure the submission is complete and eligible for selection. Given the high-demand for H-1B visas and the sensitive nature of these quota-subject filings, employers have peace of mind knowing Ms. Field will ensure their case has the same chance of any case of being selected. And if selected, the case is prepared to give it the best chance for ultimate approval.

Seeking Permanent Residency While In H-1B Status

A foreign-born worker who is in the U.S. temporarily on H-1B status may seek permanent residence status at the same time. Applying for labor certification to work in the U.S. permanently simultaneously with an H-1B visa application will not negatively impact the H-1B petition.

When dealing with any aspect of immigration law, working with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer can produce significant dividends in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of your petition. Mary L. Field has focused her legal career — nearly 20 years — solely on immigration and naturalization work.

The firm helps businesses and individuals accomplish immigration objectives in a cost-effective manner. Every client works directly with Ms. Field from start to finish. Call 630-296-5070 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation in either our Oak Brook or Gurnee office.