If you’re in the USA on a different visa, or planning to move to the United States on an H-1B visa, time is of the essence. Lottery submissions for the October 1, 2023 H-1B cap are open from March 1 – 18, 2022, and you need to be ready. In this newsletter, we’ll cover what an H-1B visa is, who is eligible, the timeline for applying, and other frequently asked questions.
1. What is an H-1B Visa?
H-1B is an employment-based visa, designed to allow U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals in specialty occupations in the United States. The H-1B visa allows the beneficiary to work in the United States for six years total. The visa is initially valid for three years, with the opportunity to extend it for another three years. It is also traditionally a path to permanent residency (green-card) status in the U.S.
Congress set the current annual cap for the H-1B visa at 65,000 employees. There is an exemption to the cap for 20,000 employees who have earned a master’s degree from a U.S. university.
But the visa is extraordinarily popular with U.S. employers, and for almost the last decade more employees have applied than visas available. For this reason USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) hold an electronic H-1B “lottery” every March.
2. Can H-1B visa-holders bring their spouse and children to the U.S.?
H-1B visa holders can bring their spouse and any children under the age of 21 with them to the U.S. by securing an H-4 visa which is valid for the same length as the principal H-1B holder. Since 2015, certain H-4 visa holders are allowed to work in the U.S.
3. Who is eligible to apply for an H-1B?
The H-1B visa allows a U.S. employer to hire and sponsor a foreign worker that meets these four requirements:
- You have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Because USCIS traditionally considers three years of specialized training and/or work experience to be the equivalent of one year of college education, you may apply after 12 years’ work experience.
- The proffered position meets USCIS’ specialty occupation requirement (typically requires a Bachelor’s degree at a minimum)
- Payment is at or above the prevailing wage (statistical wage for employees who perform the same or similar jobs)
- You are eligible for the H-1B lottery, apply on time, and are selected
4. What information do I need to apply for the H-1B lottery?
If you meet all of the qualifications, here’s what you’ll need when you apply:
The employer’s name, employer identification number (FEIN), business address, and contact information
Employer’s attorney’s contact information
The employee’s full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number
- The employee’s educational information from any US-based schools
5. What is the timeline to apply for the October 1, 2023 H-1B?
March 1 – 18, 2022: Once you’ve gathered and submitted the requested documentation to your attorney, you’ll be prepared for the fast-approaching lottery registration window. The lottery opens at noon eastern time on March 1, 2022, and will stay open until noon eastern time on March 18, 2022.
March 31, 2022: USCIS intend to announce the results of first-round selections.
April – June 2022: If selected, you have 90 days to file your full H-1B petition with USCIS.
Summer or late fall 2022: Based on data from the prior two years (since USCIS created the electronic H-1B lottery), USCIS may hold second chance and third chance lotteries in the summer or late fall for unused lottery selections.
6. Can an H-1B visa holder change employers or work for other employers?
You may change employers if you find a new employer who is willing to sponsor you. At this time, you’ll need to file another H-1B petition to change employers. There’s good news though! Since you’ve already been approved for an H-1B visa, you are no longer subject to H-1B visa caps, and you do not need to go through the lottery again.
You may work for an additional employer if the second employer also sponsors your H-1B visa and files a petition.
You may not change employers or work for an additional employer that has not sponsored your H-1B visa.
Danny Grace PLLC offers flat-rate options for the H-1B application process
At Danny Grace PLLC we are happy to provide consultations or assistance with preparing petitions with H-1B cap petitions. We offer flat fees to handle the entire application. Please feel free to reach out to Danny Grace PLLC at (646)515-2821 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free case assessment.
Danny Grace PLLC is a boutique employment litigation and immigration practice located in downtown Manhattan, New York, but offering a countrywide service to its clients. We have built an extension immigration practice specializing in visas, permanent residence (green cards), and corporate immigration.
About Danny Grace PLLC
Founded in 2012, Danny Grace PLLC is a boutique employment litigation and immigration practice located in Manhattan, New York. Trust the attorneys at Danny Grace PLLC for a successful outcome on all of your legal needs.
Our team is ready to help you with: