H-1B Visa Guide

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, you 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.

H-1B 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 H-1B cap. Up to 6,800 H-1B 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.

President Trump has suspended the issuance of most H-1B visas until the end of 2020. However, persons present in the US may change their status to H-1B and extend their current H-1B status.

USCIS has updated it’s Terms of Use (TOU) policy for employers with FY-2021 H-1B cap registration accounts.

You can stay up-to-date with the latest news regarding H-1B 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 a new 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 2021 cap started on March 1, 2020 and closed on March 20, 2020. The H-1B random selection process was run on properly submitted electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Employers started submitting their H-1B 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.

H-1B visa H-1B 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 H-1B visa, or, if you are an employer, to understand how to sponsor foreign-born professionals for H-1B status.

The H-1B Visa Guide is divided into the following subtopics:

H-1B Visa Success Stories

H-1B Visa Guide 2

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