By: Shah Peerally Esq.

The H1B visa is always a widely discussed issue amongst those who want to enter the US for work. Today we discuss here some important aspects of the H1B Visa that will make it easier for the readers to understand it.

1. The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows US companies to employ skilled workers in specialty occupations, from outside the country. Some specific areas of work for HIB Visa are- IT industry, engineering, medicine, science, architecture, etc. Individuals cannot apply for an H1B visa, only the companies hiring them can. A US company is allowed to employ a foreign worker, with a H1B visa for six years. Even though it is a non-immigrant visa, it is the H1B visa is recognized as dual intent, by which a holder can apply and obtain a US Green Card while working in the US on a H-1B visa.

2. The H1B visa is not permanent and you must make up your mind whether you want to extend your H1B visa or apply for a green card in between if you want to continue your stay in the US. Holding a H1B visa does not give you the right to behave anyway at all. In case of disobedience your visa could be revoked. Before deciding on working in the US it is good to find an employer who will hire and support your claim to an H1B visa. A lot of the comfort of your work depends on how your employer handles the processing of the H1b visa application so a responsible employer is required, apart from a good immigration attorney who could guide you in the right direction.

3. If you want to remain in the US for more than six years, after your H1B Visa expires, you may apply for a Green Card. If you do not receive your green card before the expiry of your H1B visa, then you must live outside the US for a year at the least one year before reapplying for another H1B Visa or any other visa, while your green card application is processed. Those who have applied for a green card are eligible for extension beyond six years. You can check the status of your H1B Visa application online on the USCIS website.

4. There is a cap for H1B Visa. The present immigration law allows 85,000 new H-1B visas for each year. This number includes skilled foreign workers and those with an advanced degree from any US institution. You need to apply well on time for the H1B Visa because once the visa cap is reached, the USCIS stops taking in any more H1B Visa petitions. Your employer can begin applying for the H1B visa six months before the actual date. So while the employers can start applying in the first week of April though the visa holder cannot start work till October.

5. One of the perks of holding a H1B visa is that the person is allowed to bring their spouses and children (who must be under 21 years of age) to the US under the H4 Visa category. A H4 Visa holder can remain in the US as long as the H1B visa holder remains too. The flip side however is that an H4 visa holder is not allowed to work in the US, they can however attend school, and obtain a driver’s license or even open a bank account here. Lately the rule have changed and certain H4 visa holders can actually get a work permit. See rules on H4 E.A.D on www.H4EADLAW.com

6. In case of delay in the processing of the H1B visa, your company can opt for the Premium Processing Service. This is a faster method of processing, which is available at higher fees of $1,225 that your employer must pay to the USCIS. As a part of this the USCIS guarantees that the visa petition will be processed within 15 days. A separate phone number and e-mail address is given so that the companies using this service can check on the processing status.

7. Certain things that you will need for the processing of you H1B Visa are, a valid and original passport, a photograph as specified, a copy of the original interview appointment letter, the fee payment receipt and the number assigned as a part of your application processing.

Apart from all this information, the legalities and little intricacies of law and its processing are best handled under the expert guidance of experienced attorneys who have experience in Immigration law and will be not only be able to guide you smoothly but will also help in case of any hiccups. You might either recommend or hire such a lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group or email them at info@peerallylaw.com OR even call them up for advice at- (510) 742-5887