How to Get an H1B Visa

H-1B visa USCIS received nearly 484,000 H1B visa lottery registrations in 2022, the most ever. However, only 85,000 persons will receive H1B status through the lottery.

To be eligible for an H1B visa, a person must

1. Have a minimum of a 4-year university degree or equivalent;
2. Be paid at the “prevailing wage” or the “actual wage”, whichever is higher;
3. The job must require a minimum 4-year university degree or equivalent.

H1B visas are subject to a numerical cap of 65,000 per fiscal year. In addition, 20,000 persons who obtain advanced degrees from universities in the U.S. have their own H1B cap. Up to 6,800 H1B visas are reserved for persons who are citizens of Chile and Singapore.

Certain H-1Bs petitions are exempt from the numerical caps including employment “at” universities, at “affiliated” or “related” non-profit organizations or at governmental and non-profit research institutions.

You can stay up-to-date with the latest news regarding H1B visas, the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin and other immigration news by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.


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USCIS started an online electronic registration process in 2020.  Prospective petitioners (also known as registrants), and their authorized representatives, who are seeking authorization to employ H-1B workers subject to the cap, will complete a registration process that requires only basic information about the prospective petitioner and each requested worker.

The initial registration period for the FY 2022 cap started on March 9, 2021 and closed on March 25, 2021. The H-1B random selection process was run on properly submitted electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations are eligible to file H1B cap-subject petitions.

Employers started submitting their H1B petitions at the beginning of April. Persons on whose behalf H-1B petitions are approved may start employment on October 1st. However, there are special rules (known as the “cap-gap”) for graduates of universities in the U.S. working on Optional Practical Training (OPT) which enable them to continue working for their employers during the spring and summer and automatically change their status to H-1B on October 1st.

H1B visas are typically valid for 3 years and can easily be extended for an additional 3 years. If a PERM application or an I-140 visa petition has been submitted in a timely fashion, post-6th year extensions of H-1B status are possible. We recommend that you extend your H-1B status until the day that you become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

Certain H-4 spouses of H-1B professionals are eligible to apply for work permits (EADs).

We hope that the information listed below will help you to obtain an H1B visa, or, if you are an employer, to understand how to sponsor foreign-born professionals for H-1B status.

The H1B Visa Guide is divided into the following subtopics:


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