You may know April 1 as April Fool’s Day, but at Heiferman & Associates, our immigration lawyers know it as H-1B day. Each year on April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions for foreign professionals to apply to work in the US. We work to file as many H-1B applications as possible on that day. We are able to assist with H-1B applications in all 50 states. Furthermore, we have successfully obtained other employment-based visas including O, EB, L and more.
What is an H-1B Visa?
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals for specific jobs within the USA for a specified period of time. For example, a scientist may be hired to come work on a specific research project, a teacher may be hired to teach a foreign language, or a fashion model may be hired to come walk the catwalk during New York Fashion Week. The work is specialized, and the job is temporary.
Why are H-1B’s so Popular?
Despite their somewhat limited scope, H-1B visas are very popular. Visa holders may switch jobs or work for more than one company while they are in the United States, so long as their employers are willing to fill out the appropriate paperwork. While they are working here, visa holders are eligible for the same benefits as other employees — such as paid vacations and sick leave.
H-1Bs are valid for 3 years initially, but that limit is often extended to 6 years. Many H-1B visa holders end up applying for permanent residence, aka a green card, while they are here.
The spouse and minor children of a visa holder may accompany them and legally live in the USA on an H-4 visa. Note, if an H-1B visa holder’s spouse or child wants to work, they must seek their own visa.
Visa holders may buy and sell property, invest in the stock market, and even play the lottery.
Time Is of the Essence
H-1B visas are so popular the government has placed a limit on the number of them it issues each year. That cap is often reached shortly after the filing period opens on April 1, which is why our firm files as many applications as possible that day.
For the fiscal year 2021, the cap is 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university.
For prospective H-1B employers and employees alike, this means now is the time to start preparing applications. The application and all supporting paperwork should be ready to go before the filing deadline.
There is additional pressure to file quickly this year because USCIS has implemented a new electronic registration system for employers that is going to make it easier for people to file. Our team is ready to help employers with this new pre-application filing step.
To H-1B or Not to Be, That Is the Question
If your company is interested in hiring someone on an H-1B visa, our firm can help you get your application ready to go and make sure it is filed as soon as the filing period opens. We can also discuss other visa options with you so your business needs are met even if the H-1B process does not work in your favor. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our immigration attorneys.