The H-1B category is designed for skilled professionals in a specialty occupation to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis, usually for up to six consecutive years. The alien must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent, or an equivalent combination of post-secondary education and experience. The H-1B is suitable for engineers, professors, researchers, software programmers and other foreign professionals. Since USCIS imposes an annual cap of 65,000 applications a year, it is impossible to know when the cap will run out. Therefore, it is suggested that the application be made on April 1 (the first day the applications are accepted each year) or a as soon as possible to that date.
Because of this deadline and the visa cap, it is recommended that the H-1B visa be utilized when all other viable visa classifications are not feasible. If the H-1 visa is the only option, those filing must be ready to file by April 1st of a given year in order to be then be cleared to enter the U.S. sometime after October 1 of that same year. As the H-1B visa process has become increasingly complicated, it is highly recommended that those companies interested in bringing a skilled professional to the U.S. consult with a lawyer.
For more information about the annual cap, please see the following:
Should the cap be filled, the Intra-Company Transfer visa (L-1) is sometimes the other viable option, as is the Exstraordinary Ability visa (O-1). Please see the corresponding section for those visas for more information.