The H-1B visa category is for international employees being hired with a professional degree in specialty occupations that require the theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.
To be eligible for H-1B status the following conditions for the position and the employee must be met:
- Must be an unclassified position
- Must require "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty or its equivalent"
- The employee be eligible for H-1B non-immigrant status (e.g. not subject to the two-year-home-residency requirement from a prior J-1 program, nor have used all 6 years of H-1B eligibility on prior H-1B employment)
- Candidate/employee must possess " highly specialized knowledge and attain[ed] a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty" of the position
Employers may petition for a maximum of three years of H-1B status at a time.
H-1B visa regulations allow a worker to hold H-1B status for a maximum of six years.
Time that an employee has spent in H-1B status at another employer and time spent in H-4 status deducts from their 6 years of eligibility.
VIS must receive approval of the H-1B petition from USCIS before employment can begin.
The terms of employment in H-1B status are very specific. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approves the H-1B program for the specific department, salary, duties, and dates listed on the initial H-1B petition.
The H-1B recipient is NOT authorized to change employment without prior approval from USCIS. Material changes in employment such as, changes in job duties, pay rate, title, and/or sponsoring departments require an amended petition. If the department anticipates a change in the research or employment of an H-1B employee, the department should notify VIS in advance so we can assess if the an amended petition is warranted.
Those in H-1B status are not entitled nor authorized to receive an honorarium. In some cases employees can be reimbursed for travel costs.
Employees can work for more than one employer, but each employer must file a separate H-1B petition.
The host department is responsible for submitting extension requests in accessVIS on behalf of the employee.
Applications for extensions should be filed at least 3 months before the end date of the original program.