What is an H-1B visa?

H-1B visas are the one of the most popular employment-based visas in the United States.  These are for skilled professionals.  There is an annual numerical limit of 65,000 for H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees.

H-1B visas are valid for up to three years. Maximum time allowed is six years.  Once an H-1B visa is approved, the foreign national can change employers without falling within the numerical cap again. There are limited exceptions allowed for extending an H-1B visa beyond the six years until permanent residency is obtained.  

Generally, an employer must sponsor the H-1B visa.  Since August 2011, one can apply for a self-employed H-1B visa. More information about this will follow in a different post. 

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