H-1B Frequently Asked Questions
The H-1B visa is reserved for foreign nationals who will be working in the United States in a specialty occupation. A job position will qualify as a specialty occupation as long as a U.S. Bachelor’s degree is typically required to perform the job duties.
Now, Congress has set a mandatory limit of 65,000 H-1B visas that may be given out each fiscal year (but there are some exceptions to this rule). This 65,000 limit is called the H-1B Cap. Since the cap is per fiscal year and not per calendar year, H-1B workers’ employment start date is typically October 1, which is the beginning of the fiscal year. Therefore, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting H-1B applications starting on April 1, six months before the fiscal year begins.
The H-1B process can be confusing for those who are new to the process – and even experienced H-1B employers can have questions from time to time! To help educate our clients on the basics of H-1B sponsorship, we have answered many of the most frequently asked questions below:
- My H-1B visa was approved. I am married and have a child. Can my family come with me to the U.S.?
Most likely, yes! It is typically very easy for an H-1B holder’s spouse and children to accompany the H-1B worker to the United States. To do so, the family members must obtain H-4 dependent visas from the U.S. embassy in their country of origin (but please note that only children who are unmarried and also under the age of 21 will qualify for the H-4 visa). When the family members go to the embassy, they should bring a copy of the H-1B worker’s approval notice and proof that they are related to the worker (such as a marriage certificates or birth certificates).
- I am currently attending school in the U.S. in F-1 status. An employer wants to sponsor me for H-1B status. Do I have to leave the country and get an H-1B visa before I can start working?
No! A foreign national who changes status in the U.S. from F-1 to H-1B does not need to obtain an H-1B visa before starting work (however, the foreign national does have to wait until the approved start date before working, unless a special exception applies). The new H-1b worker will only need to get an H-1B visa if the worker makes a trip outside of the United States. If the worker leaves the country, he or she will need to get an H-1B visa from the U.S. consulate before coming back to return to work.
- I am an employer and I really want to know if the H-1B petition I filed will be approved. Is there any way to get a quick decision from USCIS?
Yes! If an employer pays an additional fee of $1,225 to USCIS, USCIS will make a decision on the case (approve, deny, or ask for more information) within 15 business days.
Feel free to contact our office if you have additional questions about H-1B processes or other immigration opportunities. We look forward to helping you with your case!