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The H-1B visa is probably the most common U.S. work non-immigrant visa made available to people from all over the world.
The U.S. government introduced the H-1B visa program in the early 1990's to offer skilled workers in "specialty occupations" the opportunity to work in the U.S. for a specific employer for a limited duration.
With an annual allotment of 65,000 visas for those with undergraduate degrees in specialty occupations, and an additional 25,000 for those who graduate from a U.S institution with a Master's degree, the aggregate allotment is usually used up before the end of the U.S government's fiscal year. One of the main advantages of the H-1B visa is that it is a “dual intent” visa which means that the visa holder can "intend" to immigrate to the U.S.A. Other non-immigrant visa categories, such as the O-1, E-1 and E-2 prohibit an intention to apply for permanent residence in the U.S.A..
To obtain an H-1B Visa a foreign national must first find a U.S employer to sponsor the foreign national.
The position offered by the employer must have a rational relationship to the degree granted to the foreign national. Among other things, the H-1B employer files an H-1B visa petition with the USCIS. Individuals can NOT sponsor or apply for their own H-1B visa. Petitions can be filed ONLY by U.S. employers.
To qualify for the H-1B Visa Program, applicant must work in a “specialty occupation” including but not limited to the following fields of endeavor:
An H-1B visa is valid for up to 6 years and entitles spouses and children (under 21) to accompany the employee and live in the U.S. on an H-4 visa.
The H-4 dependent visa does not allow spouses or children to work unless they obtain their own H-1B visa.
H-1B & E-3 Visas