H-1B Visa Overview
The H-1B visa is an important and often-used visa for individuals coming to the United States to work in specialty occupations.
In most cases, H-1B visas are issued for three years, though they can be extended for three more. The H-1B visa has gained significant attention in recent years as companies have fought to hire the best talent. The demand for visas has increased significantly.
However, only 65,000 H-1B visas are granted annually. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are reserved for applicants with Master’s degrees or higher.
Moving to the US on an H-1B visa is an amazing opportunity, but do you have to leave your family behind?
Who’s Eligible to Apply
To be eligible for an H-1B Visa, you must possess a Bachelor's degree or higher from a US college or university or its equivalent from a foreign school. You must also have a job offer from a US employer for a specialty occupation.
Additionally, the job must meet prevailing wage standards.
If you meet these requirements, then you may be eligible to apply for an H-1B Visa. It's important to note that the visa is subject to annual numerical limits, so you should apply as soon as possible.
The process starts by registering with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for the H-1B visa lottery. There is a short window in March for prospective applicants to register.
In April, the USCIS does the first lottery round. If chosen in the lottery, you submit a completed petition and pay the required fees. The petition must include documents such as the applicant's qualifications and education.
As mentioned, only 65,000 applications are approved each year. If the quota isn’t met during the first lottery, subsequent lotteries are held until all 65,000 slots are filled.
The final step is an interview at the embassy or consulate. After the visa is granted, the applicant can come to the US with their eligible family members and begin work.
It can be a lengthy process, but the end result is worth it.
Definition of ‘Family” Under an H-1B Visa
Unlike most things related to the H-1B visa process, the answer to who is considered a “family” of H-1B visa holders is quite simple. Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany the person immigrating to the US on an H-1B visa.
The H-1B visa holder must first receive their H-1B visa and be admitted to the United States before they can apply for their family members to receive a derivative visa. Generally, the family members of the H-1B visa holder will apply for an H-4 visa, which allows them to live in the United States as a dependent of a work visa holder.
The process of applying for an H-4 visa is significantly shorter than applying for an H-1B visa. This is because the H-4 visa does not require the same level of scrutiny as an H-1B visa.
Restriction of a Derivative Visa
The H-1B derivative visa is a great way for the spouse and children of foreign workers to live in the United States. But certain restrictions come with a derivative visa.
First and foremost, the derivative visa holder will not be allowed to work in the United States. In most cases, a derivative visa holder can work in the United States only if they have their own H-1B visa.
The derivative visa holder may also be unable to travel outside the United States. The derivative visa holder will also have to re-apply for a visa once the H-1B visa expires. In some cases, the derivative visa holder may also not be allowed to receive federal benefits.
The restrictions on a derivative visa are designed to protect the H-1B visa holder and ensure that the visa is only used for its intended purpose.
The H-1B visa application process can be intimidating. It involves a lot of paperwork and meticulous documentation, but professional help can make the process easier.
Our experts at Visa2US can answer any questions you may still have about which family members are eligible to accompany you to the US. Additionally, we can provide the necessary information and guidance to ensure your application is complete and accurate and help you prepare for the H-1B visa interview.
It can be a long journey to the US, but you don’t have to travel it alone.