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Assisting Employers Effectively Employ And Sponsor Foreign National Professionals

General Background

Houston H-1B Temporary Professional Specialty Worker Visas
experience, or the financial capability to come to the U.S. immigration policy favors those that have skills, U.S. As such, the H-1B Specialty Worker Visas was designed to attract professional to come and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.  Under H-1B, the employer, the petitioner, will file the visa application on the behalf of the foreign national who is the beneficiary. Currently, there are only 65,000 visas available for specialty workers to come to the U.S. and work in a professional capacity.  In addition to the 65,000 H-1B visas, and an additional 20,000 visas are available for applicants who obtained Master’s Degrees or higher from U.S. Institutions.  Even more favorably, qualified teachers and educators are exempt from the numerical limitation and may apply for H-1B throughout the year.


How Do I Qualify For An H-1B Visa?

To qualify under H-1B, the employer must offer the foreign employee a fulltime or part-time professional position.  The offer must contain the proposed salary that is within the prevailing wage, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, based on the geographical region.  Further, the employment must be one that is qualified as a “specialty occupation.”  A "specialty occupation” means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of an area of specialized knowledge, such as an accountant, teacher, software developer, information technology analyst, an engineer, or a scientist.  In addition, the person must also have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent of a U.S. degree.  In some limited circumstances, The USCIS will accept experience in place of a bachelor degree.  The USCIS will replace every three years of experience for one year of education.  Therefore, if the IT professional, a network administrator, only has an associate degree in information technology, but has 6 or more years of experience, the person may qualify for an H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa. 

Please contact the Houston H-1B Visa Attorneys or the Sugar Land H-1B Specialty Worker Lawyers for information to determine if your degree is an equivalent to a U.S. bachelor degree. 


What Is The Application Process For H-1B Visas?

The employer must first offer a position to the potential employee.  Subsequently, the employer must prepares and file a petition on behalf of the foreign employee.  Because the USCIS often receives three times the number of applications over the number of visa available each year, the USCIS has created an electronic lottery system in which a computer randomly picks the applications. The employer can only file 1 H-1B application for each prospective employee.  The USCIS will reject and fine any employer who attempted to file multiple applications for the same employee.  However, the employee may have different applicants filed on their behalf by multiple employers. 

In October of 2000, the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) was signed into law. AC21 includes a portability provision that allowed previous H-1B holders to start with a new employer upon filing and receiving a receipt from the USCIS for the new H-1B petition. This is sometimes refers to as an “H-1B Transfer.”  However, it is not a transfer at all but that the new application will use the existing H-1B visa that previously awarded to the beneficiary.  The law drastically changed the way the H-1B visa holders are regulated.  Before the enactments of AC21, individuals could not start the new position H-1B employer until the new H-1B petition was approved. For more information on H-1B Transfer, please contact the Houston H-1B Transfer Lawyers and the Spring H-1B Visa Attorneys at Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham

Unlike before, F-1 students who are graduating after April 1 of each year (the date in which the USCIS will start accepting H-1B applications for following fiscal year with the October 1 start date) may now file for a change of status application when filing for H-1B.  The student must indicate that the start date of the change of status is October 1 of that year.  As such, international students under F-1 visa status may remain in the U.S. while waiting for the decisions of USCIS.  If the person was not selected under the lottery system, or if the application is denied, then their status ends on the date of the notification and they must leave the U.S. to avoid overstaying their visas.  Those that were selected may remain in the U.S. and begin work on October 1. 


Advantages and Drawbacks For H-1B Visas?

One drawback of the H-1B Specialty Worker Visa is that the applicant’s spouse, H-4, cannot work.  On the other hand, unlike other non-immigrant visas, H-1B is considered a dual-purpose visa and does not have to show that the foreign national has the intent to depart the U.S.  In addition, because of the limited number of H-1B visa available annually, applicants are placed in a lottery system in which the computer will randomly select the application for review.  Although the number of applications is expected to be lower than previous years, the USCIS still expect that the number of H-1B applications to be higher than the number of visas available.  The USCIS will continue this lottery system until further notice.  Employers should be aware that the USCIS will reject the application, as well as issuing fines, if the employer files more than one application for any one potential employee.  The employee, however, may be sponsored by many employers on his own behalf; and thus, can have various applications by different employers. 

An initial H-1B has authorization to stay in the U.S. for 3 years and can be renewed once for a three-year period, totaling 6 years.  Within this period, the employer may file an I-140 immigrant petition for the employee. If the I-140 immigrant petition is approved and there employee has a pending adjustment of status application, the H-1B visa holder may file an annual extension to continue to work and remain in the U.S. 

Please see above.

Employers who wish to employ their H-1B on a permanent basis should file an immigrant petition for the employee as soon as applicable. It could take 3 to 4 years before the employer’s immigrant petition (I-140) is approved.  Once approved, the employees and their spouses may file for adjustment of status and obtain employment authorizations.



Immigration Law is a vast area of law and requires an immigration attorney with years of experience to understand the intricacies of the Immigration & Nationality Law. Please contact the Houston H-1B Visa Attorneys and the Houston H1-B Specialty Worker Visa Lawyers to ensure proper documentations to show that the foreign national does not have the presumed “immigrant intent.”  Please call the one of our Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Texas H-1B and H-2B Visa Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form. At Veritas, you will have the opportunity to work directly with a Houston Immigration Attorney or a Houston H-1B Visa Lawyer.  Our attorneys are accessible and will always return your calls within 24 hours.