Q: What is an H-1B? How to apply for an H-1B?
A: The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification granted to a foreign worker who
is employed temporarily in a specialty occupation, or a fashion model of
distinguished merit and ability. For a step by step H-1B processing
flowchart, please see http://www.niwus.com/H-1B_procedure.html.
Q: What is a specialty occupation?
A: A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of
a body of specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor’s degree or its
equivalent for entry into the occupation in the U.S. Examples of specialty
occupation include, but are not limited to, architecture, engineering,
mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health,
education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts,
Q: How does the USCIS determine whether a job is a “specialty occupation”
for H-1B purposes?
A: When determining whether a specific position is a “specialty occupation
”, the USCIS will look into the job title, the job duties to be performed
by the foreign worker, and the complexity of the business, etc. For more
information regarding the standards to determine specialty occupation,
please read our special section on Standards to Determine Specialty
Occupation at http://www.niwus.com/H1BSpecialty.html.
Q: How does the USCIS determine whether a baccalaureate degree is the
minimum requirement for a specific occupation?
A: It is not enough that an employer requires bachelor’s degree for a
specific position. Pertinent laws set some objective standards for
determining whether a specific occupation requires a bachelor’s degree for
entry into the occupation. For more information regarding the standards to
determine the requirement of bachelor’s degree, please read our special
section on Standards to Determine Specialty Occupation at http://www.niwus.com/H1BSpecialty.html.
Q: How do I know whether my job is a “specialty occupation”?
A: While some occupations are clearly “specialty occupations” as defined
by laws and regulations, others are not so clear and the USCIS will make a
decision on a case-by-case basis. For some professions such as computer
programmer, general manager, librarian, consultant, designer, etc.,
determination of “specialty occupation” is an extremely complicated
process and many factors should be considered. We suggest that H-1B
petitioners or beneficiaries consult with an experienced immigration
attorney regarding their specific cases.
Q: How many new H-1B visas are available for the 2010 fiscal year?
A: The new H-1B visas available for FY 2010 are 65,000. In addition, 20,000
foreign workers who obtained advanced degree in the U.S. are exempted from
the 65,000 cap.
Q: I obtained a Masters Degree from a Canadian university, can I use the
additional 20,000 H-1B visas for advanced degree professionals?
A: No. The additional 20,000 H-1B visas are only granted to foreign workers
who obtained advanced degree in the U.S.
Q: I obtained a Masters Degree from a U.S. university, but my graduate
school major was not related to the job offer. My employer will file an H-1B
petition based on my bachelor's Degree major. Can I use the additional 20,
000 H-1B visas for advanced degree professionals?
A: Yes. As long as you have obtained an advanced degree in the U.S., you can
use the additional 20,000 H-1B visas for advanced degree professionals.
Q: When can U.S. employers file new H-1B petitions under the 2010 FY cap?
A: The earliest date for U.S. employers to file new H-1B petitions under the
2010 FY cap is April 1, 2009.
Q: I am currently in H-1B status working in a company, am I subject to the
annual cap if I change employment and my new employer files an H-1B petition
in my behalf?
A: No, current H-1B workers who have used the H-1B quota are not subject to
the annual cap.
Q: I was in H-1B status working in a company for a few months 3 years ago,
and then I changed my status from H-1B to F-1 student. Now I found a job and
my employer is willing to file H-1B for me, am I subject to the annual cap?
A: No, a foreign worker is not subject to the annual cap if he/she used the
H-1B quota in the past 6 years.
Q: Who can file H-1B petition for a foreign worker?
A: H-1B petition must be filed by a U.S. employer. The U.S. branch or
subsidiary of a foreign company is considered as a “U.S. employer” for H-
1B purposes if its U.S. entity meets the following requirements: 1) it
engages a person to work within the U.S.; 2) it has the authority to hire,
pay, fire, and supervise employees; and 3) it has an IRS Tax ID Number, also
known as Employer ID Number (EIN).
Q: What is Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
A: H-1B petitioning employer is required to file a Labor Condition
Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL) attesting to a number
of items, including payment of prevailing wages for the position, and the
working conditions offered. The LCA must be certified by DOL before the H-
1Bpetition is filed with USCIS.
Q: How long can a foreign worker be in H-1B status?
A: Under current law, a foreign worker can be in H-1B status for a maximum
period of six (6) years at a time. After being on H-1B for six years, the
foreign worker must remain outside the United States for at least one year
before another H-1B petition can be approved. There are, however, a few
exceptions to the six-year limit, which allow a foreign worker to extend
their H-1B status beyond six years.
Q: Who can extend H-1B status beyond the six-year maximum period?
A: A foreign worker can obtain an extension of H-1B status beyond the 6-year
maximum period if he or she meets one of the following conditions:
1. 365 days or more have passed since the filing of a Labor Certification (
Form ETA-9089), or an employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) if
Labor Certification is not required; or
2. An employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) has been approved but
due to the retrogression of priority date, the foreign worker is unable to
obtain green card.
Q: How can I extend H-1B status for one (1) year at a time beyond the six-
year maximum period?
A: You will be able to extend H-1B status in one-year increments beyond the
six-year limit if your Labor Certification application (Form ETA-9089) or
your employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) has been pending for
365 days or more. Therefore, to be eligible for the one-year extension at a
time, a Labor Certification application or I-140 petition must be filed
before the H-1B reaches the 6th year.
Q: How can I extend H-1B status for three (3) years at a time beyond the six
-year maximum period?
A: You will be eligible to extend H-1B status in three-year increments
beyond the six-year limit if your I-140 petition has been approved but you
are unable to obtain green card due to the retrogression of priority date.
Q: Can an H-1B employee work for more than one employer?
A: Yes, H-1B workers may work for more than one U.S. employer, but each
employer involved must file an H-1B petition and the petition must be
Q: Can I change H-1B employer?
A: Yes, you may change H-1B employers and at the same time keep you H-1B
status, but the new H-1B employer must file a new H-1B petition for you
properly before you begin working for the new employer.
Q: I am currently in H-1B status and will change employer. When can I work
for the new employer?
A: According to the H-1B portability rule, you can start to work for the new
employer after your new employer properly files the H-1B petition in your
behalf. You do not need to wait till the new H-1B approval to change your
employment. For more information about H-1B portability, please read our
special section on H-1B Portability Issues Related to Change of Employer at http://www.niwus.com/H1BPort.html.
Q: What is H-1B visa’s “dual intent”?
A: Unlike other non-immigrant visas such as F and J that do not allow
immigrant intent, H-1B visa has dual intent, which among other things,
allows filing of immigrant applications without affecting their non-
Q: I am in F-1 status and have filed immigrant petition, can I change status
A: Yes, you may change status to H-1B even after you filed immigrant
petition. Although H-1B is a non-immigrant visa, it allows immigrant intent
and an H-1B petition cannot be denied on the immigrant intent basis.
Q: Must I work at all times to keep my H-1B status?
A: As long as the employer/employee relationship exists in compliance with
the H-1B requirements, you are in valid status. Just like other workers, you
may be on vacation, sick/maternity/paternity leave, on strike, or otherwise
inactive without affecting your status.
Q: Is a part-time worker eligible for H-1B?
A: Yes, a foreign H-1B worker can work part-time, but the work hours must be
specified in the H-1B petition.
Q: How are H-1B cases handled in your law firm?
A: H-1B cases, like other types of cases, are professionally handled by an
experienced attorney in our law firm. At each step of the process, employers
and beneficiaries will be contacted and advised by an experienced attorney,
NOT a paralegal, law clerk, or legal assistant. For a step by step H-1B
processing flowchart, please see http://www.niwus.com/H-1B_procedure.html.
Q: My employer plans to file an H-1B petition for me, but we do not know if
I am qualified. How can you help us evaluate the chance of success?
A: If you are interested in filing H-1B and want to know your qualifications
, please complete a brief H-1B Evaluation Questionnaire and email it with
your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. The H-1B Evaluation Questionnaire can be
obtained from http://www.niwus.com/H-1B_Evaluation_Ques.html.
刘宗坤律师（Z. Zac Liu, Esq.），法学博士（J.D., Valparaiso University School of Law）、哲学博士 (Ph.D., 北京大学)，伊利诺伊州最高法院及联邦法院执照，曾担任 Valparaiso University Law Review 的编辑和审稿人， 著有中英文书籍多种，散见于中美各大学图书馆。执业以来，他已代理无数名来自世界各地的科研人员和专业人士成功获得绿卡及各类非移民签证，尤其在国家利益豁免（NIW）、特殊人才（Eb-1A）、杰出教授和研究员（EB-1B）、PERM 劳工证、H-1B工作签证等方面积累了丰富的经验。有兴趣提出申请的读者，可将简历发往zliu@niwus.com。刘律师会在两个工作日内对您的情况做出免费评估。
白凯玲律师 (Kellie Pai, Esq.)，法学博士 (J.D.，University of Houston Law Center)、文学学士(B.A., University of Texas at Austin)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，联邦法院执照，刘宗坤联合律师事务所专业移民律师。白凯玲律师曾应邀在美国移民律师协会（AILA）Houston分会主讲国家利益豁免（NIW）、特殊人才（Eb-1A）以及杰出教授和研究员（EB-1B）申请。
Christina T. Le 律师，法学博士 (J.D.，University of Houston Law Center)、理学学士(B.S., Northwestern University)，德克萨斯州最高法院执照，曾担任U.S. Department of Justice驻Houston移民法庭Attorney Advisor，以及Houston Business & Tax Law Journal编辑。
Liu & Associates, PLLC
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Houston, Texas 77036
Tel： (800) 878-1807
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