When should I apply for an H1B Visa?

The H-1B is a very popular immigration option. At the time of this FAQ, the United States grants 85,000 H-1B visas each year. In the past, within a relatively short time after the visas are made available each year (starting on April 1st), all the visas were used up within a few weeks. In today's economic climate, however, the visas are being used up at a slower rate. Nonetheless, the quota has been filed each year, leaving some people without the option of applying. That's why our immigration lawyers always recommend that clients apply early. Note that if this is your first H-1B application you will only be allowed to begin working with the employer in H-1B status on October 1 of that year.

Basic Rules Governing H1-B Workers Sponsored by a University

  • All applications for an academic H-1B must be filed by the hiring university. Individuals cannot file for H-1B visas on their own behalf.
  • You may be in the U.S. on another type of visa, such as a student or visitor visa, while you are being considered for H-1B sponsorship.
  • All applicants must receive a labor condition certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and employment authorization from USCIS. The university must do this for each sponsored applicant.
  • If you are granted an H-1B visa, you may work for an academic institution for up to six years. 
  • Once your H-1 petition has been approved by USCIS, you are prohibited from accepting any monetary payment, compensation, or reimbursement from any organization or employer outside of the university. 
  • You may transfer your H-1B visa to another academic or research institution; however, you cannot transfer to a U.S. company. If you leave academia, you must be sponsored for a new H-1B visa.

In order to be approved for this type of visa, you must have adhered to the requirements of any former visas as well as all U.S. laws.