H-1B visas are issued to foreign nationals who have been hired by a U.S. employer for a position in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupations include science, engineering, teaching, accounting, etc. and require a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher. If you or someone you know has been hired by an employer in Georgia who wishes to sponsor you so that you are able to come and work in the U.S., they would need to submit the appropriate paperwork with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so you can obtain an H-1B visa.
H-1B Visa Basics
It is important to understand that an H-1B visa only gives a foreign national temporary status. When you receive an H-1B visa, you are permitted to stay in the U.S. for three years and can then request to have your visa extended for an additional three years. Essentially, what this means is that you would be allowed to work in the U.S. for a total of six years. Now, there are exceptions to these limits and the Atlanta, GA immigration attorneys at Kuck | Baxter Immigration would be happy to explain to you what these are.
In the event your circumstances don’t meet the requirements to extend your H-1B visa beyond the six-year timeframe, you would be required to return home for at least one year before coming back on an H-1B visa. Some other important things that are worth noting when considering applying for an H-1B visa include:
- H-1B visas do not give you permanent residence.
- The employer who is submitting the petition must be prepared to pay you what someone in that area typically earns for that same position.
- You must be qualified for this position. If you do not have a degree, but instead, have experience in the field you are seeking a position in, Atlanta, GA immigration Attorney Laura Rosmarin says the government typically considers three years of experience in a particular field to be equivalent to one year of study in that field. Essentially, what this means is that if you have 12 years of experience in a particular field and are able to document this through letters of reference from employers, this may be considered equivalent to a four-year college degree. This would then make you may be eligible to apply for an H-1B visa.
- The government only issues 85,000 H1-B visas per fiscal year which starts October 1st.
- If you are laid off or furloughed while working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, you could fall “out of status” as your H-1B visa is dependent upon your job. You do, however, have a 60-day grace period or the time left in between the time you were laid off and the expiration of your validity date, whichever is sooner, to adjust your status or find a new job in the same field.
Now, if you are an employer who wishes to submit an H-1B petition for an employee, the Atlanta, GA immigration lawyers at Kuck | Baxter Immigration recommend that you begin getting your paperwork and information together by January. Because lawyers anticipate that the government will allow employers to register a specific employee they are petitioning for in March via an online system, it is best to have everything ready and prepared earlier on in the year so that you are able to register come March.
If you have questions related to H-1B visas or need assistance with another type of immigration-related matter, don’t hesitate to contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration for advice or assistance.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350