Generally, H-1B visa is a non-immigrant temporary visa for specialty occupation workers, and also for foreign workers coming to perform services of an exceptional nature that relate to a U.S. Department of Defense-administered project; or fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
H-1B specialty occupation workers
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant (temporary) work visa, usually issued by U.S. Consular officers or USCIS for the period of 3 years, with the option to renew for additional 3 years, the maximum H-1B period of stay being 6 years. H-1B visa is for foreign workers in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation requires the foreign worker to have specialized knowledge and an education in the form of a bachelor’s degree or work experience that may be evaluated to equal a bachelor’s degree because of its duration. There is a quote on how many H-1B visas are issued by the U.S. government each year in the “Bachelor’s Degree Specialty Occupation” category (called “H-1B Cap subject” category). The current quota in the H-1B Cap Subject category is sixty-five thousand (65,000) visas per year.
Starting in 2020, USCIS implemented a new H-1B electronic registration system for H-1B visa submissions. The system will begin H-1B applications electronically on March 1, 2020 and close it on March 20, 2020. With this new system, employers seeking H-1B workers in the H-1B Cap subject category, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration process that will require only basic information about their company and each requested worker. The actual end date of registration will still be announced. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
To apply for the H-1B visa, the employer must make a job offer to the foreign worker with a Bachelor’s degree and specialized knowledge or equivalent work experienced in the specialty occupation, and also confirm that the employer company is a functional company and certify the position, wages and level of employment offered.
For foreign workers with advanced degrees (such as Master’s or Doctorate degrees), there is the H-1B Cap Exempt category. These workers do not have get visas from the annual quota. Also, workers coming to work in non-profit organizations and higher education institutions or special research projects are cap-exempt.
H-1B2 visa is for foreign workers coming to work in cooperation with U.S. Department of Defense.
H-1B3 visa is for foreign models of distinguished merit and ability in the field of fashion modeling
H-2A visa is for temporary agricultural workers, coming to U.S. to work seasonally or for a short temporary time period.
H-2B visa is for foreign workers coming to U.S. temporarily to engage in non-agricultural services or labor that is based on the employer’s seasonal, intermittent, peak load, or one-time need.
H-3 visa – trainee.