The H-1B visa is one of the most popular ways for foreign professionals in specialty occupations to obtain a work visa, and even a Green Card in the United States. A successful H-1B application requires sponsorship by the professional’s employer, and can be granted for three years, with one additional three-year renewal. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, and requires a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent.
Although USCIS will not begin accepting H-1B applications until April 1, 2017, it is critical
to start preparing your application now, as the competition for this coveted visa is fierce. The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. However, the first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. In 2016, USCIS received 236,000 H-1B visa applications within the first five days of the application period. Once USCIS receives enough applications to satisfy the 65,000 quota, it implements a lottery. The applications that are not selected in the lottery are returned to the sender, along with their filing fees. In 2016, there was a 25% chance of an application making it through the lottery with a Bachelor’s Degree, and a one third chance with a Master’s Degree. Continue reading