“Specialty occupations” require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field such as biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum educational qualification. The foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure if it required for their field. The H-1B work-authorization is limited to employment by the sponsoring employer and is not transferable to another employer without a separate application.
The duration of an employment visa stay is three years extendable to six. H-1B visa holders who want to continue to work in the United States after six years but who have not obtained permanent residency status must remain outside of the country for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. There is no requirement that the individual remain for any particular amount of time in the job the visa was originally issued for. This allows a person to transfer upon sponsorship to a new employer.
Though there remains a cap on H-1B visas, in reality, there are over 200,000 approved each year. Income taxation for H-1B employees depends on whether they are non-resident aliens or resident aliens. A non-resident alien is only taxed on income from the United States while a resident alien is taxed on all income.
The H-1B visa is one of the few visa categories allowing for dual intent, meaning that the holder can apply for a green card while holding the visa. The employment-based immigration process takes many years. Consequently, many H-1B visa holders must renew their visas in one to three-year increments for continued legal status while their green card application is in process. H-1B visa holders can bring immediate family members, spouses and children under the age of 21 to the United States under the H4 Visa category as dependents. An H4 Visa holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the H-1B visa holder does. However, an H4 visa holder often is not eligible to work or obtain a Social Security number. An H4 Visa holder may attend school, obtain a driver’s license and open a bank account. In order for the visa holder to claim a dependent on a tax return or file a joint tax return, the dependent must obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number.
Losing an Employment Visa
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows United States employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is fired they have three options:
Apply for and be granted a change of status,
Find another employer, or
Leave the United States
Contact Us for Help With Employment Immigration
An employment visa can help an individual work in the United States. It is a powerful tool for those from outside countries to tap into the many opportunities in the United States and for our economy to tap some of the most talented people in the world. If you are an employer who needs more information about employee visas or a talented individual that needs help through the process, our firm is ready to help. For additional information about the scope of our employment immigration practice, contact the Law Office of Nazly Mamedova.