The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to hire outside of the country if they cannot find enough qualified workers in the U.S. The employer petitions on behalf of the potential foreign employee, and the employee obtains a temporary, nonimmigrant visa that expires in 3-6 years.
This type of visa has a very narrow set of requirements. You must either be:
- A highly specialized worker;
- A researcher and development project worker for the U.S. Department of Defense; or
- A prominent fashion model.
Each of these three main types of H-1B visa holders has its own set of standards. Despite the stringent qualifications, the visa is highly competitive, and USCIS conducts a yearly lottery to randomly select from a pool of eligible applicants. The agency also places a cap on the number of visas it distributes each year. In 2021, they will issue 65,000 visas, plus an additional 20,000 for people with the advanced-degree exemption.
In a recent announcement, USCIS explained the upcoming implementation of an electronic registration system for people applying in 2020. This system is a mandatory initial screening, in which employers submit basic information about their prospective employees (along with a $10 fee). USCIS then conducts the lottery for all those that meet the basic requirements. Selected applicants will receive notification by March 31, 2020 that they can move forward with the full H-1B petition.
This electronic registration system is meant to streamline the process. Because the lottery occurs before employers submit full petitions and USCIS reviews them, it saves time and money for all involved parties.
This year, the electronic registration period is between March 1st and March 20th. Potential petitioners can log back in to check the status of their registration.
Contact Us for Assistance with Your Employment Visa
At Akula & Associates P.C., we exhibit a high level of dedication, efficiency, and care. If you need assistance with hiring a foreign worker or coming to the United States for employment opportunities, we will guide you through the process and ensure you file your applications free of errors. We have represented individuals as well as businesses of all sizes, and we want you to benefit from this level of knowledge and skill.