The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is used to employ a foreign national as a temporary worker in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as an occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge requiring at least a baccalaureate degree or equivalent for entry into the occupation.
Highlights of the H-1B Classification
- Performs professional services in a specific position for a fixed period of time
- Used to “fill” a vacancy which has been advertised
- Employment authorization may be for an initial period of up to three years depending on the initial period of appointment
- Extensions of employment may be authorized up to a maximum of six years
- Employment is permitted only with the institution who petitioned for the H-1B classification
- Individuals may receive approval from USCIS to work in H-1B status for more than one employer (each employer must file a petition)
- Form I-797A authorizes employment . . . the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is not required ·
- H-4 dependents are not authorized to work (unless applying for permanent residency and issued an EAD by the USCIS)
Dates to Monitor
- Expiration date of H-1B status (as indicated on Form I-797A)
I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) expiration date
- Extensions should be processed approximately 2 to 6 months in advance. (Use the instructions below to assist in processing an extension.)
- If employment will end, process a separation form.
- Instructions to process a new petition for H-1B status - PDF or Word
- Instructions to process an extension of H-1B status. - PDF or Word
For additional information, follow this link to the USCIS page on Specialty Workers (H-1B).