H-1B Visa

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,665 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with an H-1B Visa?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

What Is the H-1B Visa?

An H-1B visa is an employment based visa. It is for non-immigrant or temporary workers to legally enter the United States for an employment opportunity. To be eligible for an H-1B visa, the employer must offer a job in the United States and apply for the H-1B visa on the employee’s behalf. Essentially, an H-1B visa is a work permit that will allows a foreign citizen to work in the United States.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services considers a temporary worker as an individual who is seeking to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. The H-1B visa allows the visa holder to temporarily live and work in the United States.

Who Is Eligible for H-1B Visas?

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, the applicant must be qualified for a specialty occupation and have specialized knowledge in the field they will be working. The visa holder must have at least a bachelor’s degree to apply for an H-1B visa.

The following jobs are some examples of occupations that qualify as specialty occupations and therefore eligible for an H-1B visa.

  • Engineer
  • Doctor
  • Financial Manager
  • Analyst
  • Business Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Lawyer
  • CPA
  • Architect
  • Technician
  • Health Care Professional
  • Arts/Entertainment

Even if a person is eligible for an H-1B visa, they may not receive the visa because the USCIS limits the number of visas issued each year. Usually, this cap is 65,000 visas however that number is subject to change.

In addition to the normal 65,000 H-1B visas issued, the United States also issues an additional 20,000 H-1B visas to qualified people who hold a master’s degree.

H-1B Visa Requirements

To apply for the H-1B visa, applicants must meet various educational requirements. These requirements are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s Degree. The applicant must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree, higher degree, or the equivalent. The degree must be from an accredited college or university.
  • Work Experience. If the foreign equivalent to the U.S. bachelor’s degree is only a three-year degree, the applicant must have three years of work experience in their field.
  • Fully Qualified. The applicant must be fully qualified to lawfully perform the duties of the job they are seeking. If any licenses or credentials are necessary to work, the applicant must already have these qualifications to be eligible for the visa.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Sunnita B.

15 projects on CC
View Profile

George L.

1 project on CC
View Profile

Benjamin W.

40 projects on CC
View Profile

Scott S.

12 projects on CC
View Profile

H-1B Visa Application

The H-1B visa application begins by an employer filing an H-1B petition with USCIS on behalf of the potential employee. The employer must have this petition filed before a specific deadline that is set each year and the petitions are for the following financial year.

Once the petition is approved, the foreign worker can begin the visa application process in their home country. A foreign worker can follow the following steps to complete the process:

Step 1: The applicant must fill out the H-1B visa application which is Form DS160 online. This can be done at the Department of State website. After the application is completed, the applicant will receive a confirmation page with a 10-digit barcode. This document needs to be printed and will be required at the interview.

It is important to note that the visa application requires a digital photograph of the applicant. The photo must adhere to strict requirements so an applicant should be sure to meet all the photo criteria or else the application could be delayed or denied.

Step 2: A visa application fee must be paid to make an appointment for the visa interview. This can be done online using a bank transfer. The fee paid is good for one year from the date of payment so the applicant must schedule their visa appointment within that year.

Step 3: Applicants will have to schedule two separate appointments for the visa process. The first appointment is for biometrics (fingerprint and photograph) The second appointment is at the Consulate or Embassy for the visa interview. Appointments can be made online.

Step 4: When an applicant attends their interview, they need to make sure they have all their required documents. Refer to this checklist:

  • Passport
  • Photograph
  • DS-160 visa application conformation page with barcode
  • Visa application fee receipts (only necessary in some countries)
  • Visa appointment letter
  • Any other supporting documents

After your interview, if you visa has been approved, the officer will let you know immediately.

Filing Fees

The employer is responsible for paying the H-1B petition filing fee. This can range from $1,700 to $8,000. There is also the possibility that you will incur legal fees if you hire an immigration lawyer to help throughout the process.

ContractsCounsel H1-B Visa Image

Image via Pexels by Porapak

H-1B Visa Program Explained

There are a lot of rules and regulations that surround the H-1B visa program so it can sometimes be difficult to understand. An H-1B visa holder should understand the following information to ensure they are in compliance with the laws surrounding their visa.

Working: An H-1B holder does not have to be working at all times to maintain status. They simply need to maintain an employer/employee relationship. The visa holder can work full time or part time and is able to go on vacation, take sick leave, take maternity or paternity leave, and even go on strike.

Employers: An H-1B visa holder can only work for the employer who petitioned for the visa. Working for any other employer is illegal. An H-1B visa can however be transferred to a new employer.

Traveling: The H-1B visa is a multiple entry visa which means the holder can travel in and out of the United States as many times as they want as long as the visa is valid.

Family: If the visa holder has family like a spouse or minor children, these family members are allowed to be in the United States as dependents of the visa holder. Family members will have an H4 visa, and it will be valid so long as the H-1B visa is valid.

Green Card: A visa holder can fill out for I-485 to apply for a change of status and seek permanent residency.

How Long Is an H-1B Visa Good for?

An H-1B visa is good for a total of six years . After the first three years it can extended for an additional three years.

If at any time during the valid duration of the visa, the visa holder is outside of the United States, the time outside the country does not count towards the six year maximum.

H-1B Visa Status

It is easy to check the status of your immigration application, petition, or request. You can log in the USCIS website and use the case status tracking tool. All you need is your receipt number to check the status of your immigration case.

Difference Between L1 and H-1B Visas

An L1 visa is also a type of temporary work visa available for entry to the United States. While the H-1B visa is for a U.S. based employer to hire a foreign national, an L1 visa is used to transfer employees within a company that operates in more than one country.

An L1 visa is sometimes called an Intra-Company Transferee Visa because it allows a company to shift employees in specialized positions to the United States for temporary work.

L1 visa holders do not need to have a U.S. degree or equivalent, they just need to have knowledge and expertise in their field.

One of the biggest differences between the L1 visa and the H-1B visa is that the United States government does not limit the amount of L1 visas that can be issued each year.

Get Help with an H-1B Visa

Do you have questions about an H-1B Visa and want to speak to an expert? Post a project today on ContractsCounsel and receive bids from immigration lawyers who specialize in H-1B visas and other immigration matters.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our H-1B Visa Lawyers

View Atilla
Member Since:
October 4, 2021

Atilla B.

Counsel
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Denver, CO
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO, DC
American University - Washington College of Law

Atilla Z. Baksay is a Colorado-based attorney practicing transactional and corporate law as well as securities regulation. Atilla represents clients in the negotiation and drafting of transactional (e.g. master service, purchase and sale, license, IP, and SaaS agreements) and corporate (e.g. restricted stock transfers, stock options plans, convertible notes/SAFE/SAFT agreements, bylaws/operating agreements, loan agreements, personal guarantees, and security agreements) contracts, in-house documents (e.g. employment policies, separation agreements, employment/independent contractor/consultant agreements, NDAs, brokerage relationship policies, and office policy memoranda), and digital policies (e.g. terms of service, privacy policies, CCPA notices, and GDPR notices). Atilla also reviews, and issues legal opinions concerning, the security status of digital currencies and assets. Following law school, Atilla practiced international trade law at the Executive Office of the President, Office of the United States Trade Representative, where his practice spanned economic sanctions enacted against goods originating in the People’s Republic of China valued at $500 billion. Afterwards, Atilla joined a Colorado law firm practicing civil litigation, where the majority of his practice comprised of construction defect suits. Today, Atilla's practice spans all corporate matters for clients in Colorado and the District of Columbia.

View Clara
Member Since:
October 8, 2021

Clara D.

Principal
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Illinois
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Chicago

After graduating from The University of Chicago Law School in 2002, Clara spent eight years in private practice representing clients in complex commercial real estate, merger and acquisition, branding, and other transactional matters. Clara then worked as in-house counsel to a large financial services company, handling intellectual property, vendor contracts, technology, privacy, cybersecurity, licensing, marketing, and otherwise supporting general operations. She opened her own practice in September of 2017 and represents hedge funds, financial services companies, and technology companies in a range of transactional matters.

View Gregory
Member Since:
October 18, 2021

Gregory B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
San Diego, CA
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of San Diego

I love contracts - and especially technology-related contracts written in PLAIN ENGLISH! I've worked extensively with intellectual property contracts, and specifically with IT contracts (SaaS, Master Subscriptions Agreements, Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, License Agreements, etc.), and I have built my own technology solutions that help to quickly and thoroughly draft, review and customize complex contracts.

View Grant
Member Since:
October 11, 2021

Grant P.

Founder
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NJ, NY
Brooklyn

Founder and owner of Grant Phillips Law.. Practicing and licensed in NY, NJ & Fl with focus on small businesses across the country that are stuck in predatory commercial loans. The firm specializes in representing business owners with Merchant Cash Advances or Factoring Arrangments they can no longer afford. The firms clients include restaurants, truckers, contractors, for profit schools, doctors and corner supermarkets to name a few. GRANT PHILLIPS LAW, PLLC. is at the cutting edge of bringing affordable and expert legal representation on behalf of Merchants stuck with predatory loans or other financial instruments that drain the companies revenues. Grant Phillips Law will defend small businesses with Merchant Cash Advances they can no longer afford. Whether you have been sued, a UCC lien filed against your receivables or your bank account is levied or frozen, we have your back. See more at www.grantphillipslaw.com

View Jordan
Member Since:
October 13, 2021

Jordan M.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston, TX
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston Law Center

I am a software developer turned lawyer with 7+ years of experience drafting, reviewing, and negotiating SaaS agreements, as well as other technology agreements. I am a partner at Freeman Lovell PLLC, where I lead commercial contracts practice group. I work with startups, growing companies, and the Fortune 500 to make sure your legal go-to-market strategy works for you.

View Jonathan
Member Since:
November 12, 2021

Jonathan K.

Principal
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York, Europe (Germany, UK)
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Georgetown University Law Center

Pico & Kooker provides hands on legal advice in structuring, drafting, negotiating, interpreting, managing and enforcing complex high value commercial transactions. Adept at navigating complex environments, Jonathan has extensive expertise advising clients on a wide range of long- and medium-term cross border and financial engagements, including public tender participation, PPPs, export sales agreements as well as policy and regulatory formulation. Jonathan and his co-founder, Eva Pico have represented and acted on behalf of lenders, global corporations and other market participants across a range of industries including financial services, infrastructure and transportation. As outside counsel, Pico & Kooker, has developed a strong rapport and working relationship with their clients and appropriately work with their in-house teams to increase consistency, processes and procedures. The company employs a unique approach as practical, business minded outside legal counsel who believe in proactively partnering with their clients to achieve desired results while managing and engaging key stakeholders. They listen to their clients to develop customized solutions that best meet their needs while aligning with their objectives, vision and values. Some representative transactions include advising the World Bank on project finance and portfolio options to address the costs and risks associated with integrating renewable power sources. Also advising them as legal counsel, Jonathan developed policies, regulation and models for emerging market governments entering into public-private partnerships. In addition to his work with the World Bank, Jonathan has worked with some of the world’s largest consulting firms, financial institutions and governmental organizations, including the United Nations, the governments of the US, UK and select African countries. Through out his career, he has worked with large, multinational corporations both by consulting in-house and acting as outside counsel on large cross-border transactions. He graduated from Georgetown University’s law school and was admitted practice as a lawyer in New York, England and Wales and, as a foreign lawyer, in Germany. He has written several articles for trade journals and has been cited by several business publications in worldwide. Jonathan is a native English speaker and has high proficiency in German and a functional understanding of Spanish.

View Pelin
Member Since:
October 18, 2021

Pelin U.

Founding Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Leander, TX
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in TX
Rutgers Law School - J.D. / Law

I am a solo practitioner and the founding attorney at Uzay Law, PLLC, which provides legal services in immigration and contracts. I am licensed to practice law in Texas. Prior to practicing law, I worked as a producer and film consultant in New York for over fifteen years. I am fluent in English and Turkish.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call