The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the beneficiary (the foreign worker) has a bachelor’s degree, and the petitioner (the U.S. company) can employ the worker for up to six years.
This is a very popular visa because, unlike many other non-immigrant visas that make applying for a green card very difficult and require foreign workers to maintain a residence in their home country, the H-1B visa permits “dual intent.” Dual intent allows one to apply for a green card while in the U.S. without running into problems.
Requirements and eligibility
LABOR CONDITION APPLICATION (LCA)
Prospective specialty occupation and distinguished fashion model employers/agents must obtain a certification of an LCA from the DOL.
The application requires the employer/agent to attest that it will comply with the following labor requirements:
The employer/agent will pay the H-1B worker a wage which is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage for the position in the geographic area in which the H-1B worker will be working.
The employer/agent will provide working conditions that will not adversely affect other similarly employed workers.
At the time of the labor condition application there is no strike or lockout at the place of employment.
Notice of the filing of the labor condition application with the DOL has been given to the union bargaining representative or has been posted at the place of employment.
Processing times and Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Labor certification is done prior to filing the H-1B petition, and it usually takes about 2 weeks to get an answer from the Department of Labor. Premium processing is available and you can have an answer in 15 calendar days. Premium processing will cost you an additional $1,440, but it is generally well worth it to keep your place in line.
Family of H-1B Visa holders
H-1B visa holders can bring their spouse and children under 21 years of age to the U.S. under the H-4 visa category as dependents. While dependents are permitted to remain in the U.S., an H-4 visa holder is not eligible to work in the U.S. They can, however, attend school, obtain a driver’s license, and open a bank account while in the U.S.
The spouse of H-1B non-immigrants can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, as long as the H-1B non-immigrant has already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.