The H-1B visa allows qualified foreign professionals to work for employers in the United States who require individuals for specialty occupations. Whether you are a foreign national seeking this type of status or a hiring specialist who wants to learn more about the process, the attorneys at Maiona Ward, P.C., can help. Based in the Boston area, our team of dedicated business immigration lawyers has years of experience and can help you file the necessary paperwork for an H-1B visa and maintain the appropriate documentation to comply with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and US Department of Labor rules and regulations.Applying for an H-1B Visa
H-1B visas may be granted to a number of professionals, including physicians, teachers, lawyers, researchers, scientists, and more. An applicant must meet the following requirements:
- The employee must possess a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and plan to perform services in a specialty occupation;
- The occupation must typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher; and
- The employer must pay the H-1B visa holder a wage that is consistent with the prevailing wage for that job in that geographic area as determined by the US Department of Labor and is consistent with the wages paid to other similar employees in the company.
The H-1B petition must be approved by USCIS before the foreign national employee can begin work. An H-1B visa is employer-specific, which means that the worker can only be employed by the employer that obtains the H-1B visa. The H-1B visa has an annual quota, also known as a “cap,” of 65,000 visas in each fiscal year for foreign nationals who have a bachelor’s degree. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are designated for employees who have a U.S. master’s degree or higher. As a result, the total annual quota is 85,000 H-1B petitions per year. There is no quota or cap for individuals who already have an H-1B visa and seek to transfer to a new employer. Moreover, individuals who will be employed by certain non-profit organizations also may not be subject to the cap.
An H-1B visa holder may be admitted for a period of up to three years. This time frame can be extended by another three years, depending on your specific situation. However, it generally cannot go beyond a total of six years unless the residency process has been commenced. H-1B visa holders are not subject to tight travel restrictions and usually can travel internationally without much difficulty.
An individual who is terminated before the authorized period of stay under the visa will have to leave the United States. The employer will be responsible for the reasonable costs of return transportation. The employer, however, is not responsible for return costs if the H-1B visa holder voluntarily resigns from the position.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can seek admission to the U.S. on an H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, provided that the H-1B visa holder has already initiated the process of seeking employment-based permanent resident status and reached a certain point in that process.Contact a Boston Lawyer for Guidance on a Green Card Application
At the Boston firm of Maiona Ward, P.C., our green card attorneys have helped many employers and foreign nationals navigate the complicated H-1B process. We are here to guide the employer and/or employee through the complicated maze of immigration rules and regulations with the skill and dedication that you deserve at this important juncture. Many of our clients come from communities such as Worcester, Waltham, and Cambridge, in addition to Rhode Island. To set up an appointment with us, you can call us at 617-695-2220 or contact us online.