H1B Visa Processing
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An H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign nationals in specialty occupations. The U.S. Government is permitted to grant no more than 65,000 H1B Visas per year. The attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP can help guide you through the process.
To apply for an H1B Visa, you must file:
- A Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor; and
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
In most cases, a college degree from the United States, or the academic equivalent where the employee has attained a foreign degree, is required. The job for which the H-1B employee is applying must be one for which a college education or the equivalent is required.
The employee seeking an H1B Visa must be admissible to the United States and have no unlawful presence in the U.S. An H-1B may be approved for persons present in the United States and the employee's status will be changed from whatever status they entered the U.S. In the alternative, an approved H-1B may be sent to a U.S. consulate outside the United States for visa processing.
To expedite the process:
In certain situations, the employer may wish to have a decision on the H-1B petition faster. If the employer wishes to expedite the process, then he or she may file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, either with Form I-129 or upon receiving its receipt notice. Please note that premium processing is not always advantageous or necessary, even if the employer needs an employee to begin work quickly.
Although the processing time varies slightly for each applicant, you may check online for updated estimates of your processing time.
Employee's length of stay in the U.S.:
The employee's length of stay will be assigned on an individual basis and will depend on the duration of the temporary job for which the employee is potentially being hired and may be no longer than three years (a new H-1B can be filed immediately prior to expiration of the first H-1B to extend that period to up to a total of six years, and possibly longer depending on circumstances). If the employer wishes to extend the employee's stay in the U.S. for the purpose of extending his or her employment, then the employer must file a new Form I-129 within the assigned duration of the employee's stay.
The attorneys at Altman and Altman LLP realize that the process of obtaining H1B Visas can grow complex, so they are happy to help you choose the course of action that addresses your personal needs. They are also willing to assist you in filing the appropriate documents and answer any and all of your questions about the process.
U.S. Government Agency Resources
- Form I-129 (965KB PDF)
- Download Instructions for Completing Form I-129 (194KB PDF)
- Download I-129 Supplemental Filing Instructions for H-2A Petitions for Agricultural Workers (21KB PDF)
- Download Processing Worksheet for FY 09 H-1B Filings (39KB PDF)