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H1B Visas are a sought-after work visa for skilled workers within the United States. They allow employers to remain competitive in the global economy and workforce. It also allows them to fill positions that cannot otherwise get filled by the U.S. workforce alone.

If you are curious about an H1B Visa, what it means, and what it can do for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll break down the aspects of this permit and what’s required of you to get one. Our Phoenix-based immigration lawyers have years of experience in successfully representing immigration cases. We are more than prepared to help you start and complete your H1B Visa application. 

h1b visas

H1B Visas are legal permits that allow a foreign national to work within the United States for a certain period of time. The visa grants U.S. companies the ability to employ workers in specific skilled labor areas. These areas might include:

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Financial institutions
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine, biology, or science

Generally, any graduate level profession that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher might fall under the H1B Visa. In the case that you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you may still qualify under certain conditions. If you can prove that your work experience or skills are equal to that of a degree, you may be able to attain this visa. 

Individuals cannot apply for H1B Visas themselves. They must have an employer submit the paperwork on behalf of them. 

Both L1 and H1B are non-immigrant visas that allow foreign nationals to work within the U.S. However, they are different from one another in a few key ways. 

  1. An L1 Visa is also known as an Intra-Company Transferee Visa. It allows large companies with operations in different countries to move their employees to the U.S. temporarily. These specialized positions come in two different categories: L1A and L1B. L1A encompasses any managers or executives in the company. Workers with specialized skills or knowledge fall under the L1B category. 
  2. L1A Visas allow 7 years in the U.S., while L1B allows 5. 
  3. Unlike with H1B Visas, there is no limited number allowed in each year for L1 Visas.
  4. Both employees under L1 and H1B Visas are able to apply for green cards while working in the United States. 
  5. Only those with H1B Visas are able to invest in the stock market or buy/sell property in the U.S.

There is a limit to the number of H1B Visas allowed each year. This is what’s referred to as the H1B cap. The number caps off at 85,000 available permits. Of these, 20,000 are strictly limited to those who’ve received a master’s degree or higher from American universities or colleges. An employee who has already received an H1B Visa is often exempt from this numerical cap. 

There are several requirements for those seeking H1B Visas. One, which we already mentioned, is that you must have a bachelor’s degree or higher or be able to prove comparable experience. You also must get a Labor Condition Application, or LCA, before filing your H1B Visa. You can get a LCA from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Someone who currently has H1B status isn’t limited to a single employer. Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act, employees are able to make use of portability provisions. This means they are able to transfer their H1B status to a different employer and remain eligible.

Any spouse or minor children of a person of H1B status can live and study in the United States under a H-4 Status. They may also receive a driver’s license and open a bank account, but they are not eligible to work.

The H1B Visa has a duration of at least 6 years. It’s issued by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) in increments of up to 3 years. 

If an employee under the H1B Visa is applying for permanent residency by obtaining green card status, they may be able to receive an extension. An immigration lawyer can help you determine the length of your visa and how you can request an extension. 

Even under foreign work visas such as an H1B, there is still a fear of deportation. Deportation might occur for several reasons. One of these may be that your H1B transfer or request for an extension of time got denied. If you get denied for either of these, you are no longer legally employed in the U.S. and will be subject to deportation. To avoid this outcome, you should make sure you correctly fill out the proper paperwork and file it well before your visa expires. 

Another reason you may get deported is if you’re convicted of a crime that’s considered grounds for deportation. These crimes can either be an aggravated felony or “crimes of moral turpitude.” To avoid deportation for a criminal act, you need a criminal defense lawyer. Luckily, firms like Ybarra Maldonado specialize in criminal defense for immigrants in the United States.

In today’s day and age, the Coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of people without jobs. While U.S. citizens are able to receive unemployment benefits, immigrants cannot. Those on foreign work visas who have lost their job due to COVID-19 have very little options. They must find a similar job within the states soon, or else the threat of deportation arises.

If you’re threatened with deportation, there are ways to stop removal proceedings. If you received a criminal conviction that isn’t an aggravated felony, you can apply for a cancellation of removal, a refugee waiver, or a 212(c) waiver.

Another way to stop removal proceedings is to make an asylum case. You might have an asylum case if you fear that returning to your country could be harmful to you for the following reasons:

  • Punishment for political activities
  • Religious persecution
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a group or race

There are also other ways to stop removal proceedings. These cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation methods rely on certain requirements. Ask your attorney what these requirements are and whether you meet them. 

H1B Visas are a non-immigrant visa, so they are not the same thing as a green card. But they can lead to green card status.

Applying for a non-immigrant visa generally takes much less time than applying for a green card. This makes it ideal for companies wanting to bring in foreign employees for the long-term. 

Non-immigrant visas like H1B’s and L1’s are both of dual intent. This means that you’re given the option to apply for green card status while under those permits. 

If you’re looking for a smooth transfer from an H1B to green card, you might not get it. It can be a rather difficult process. Adjusting your status can take serious planning due to its complexity and the time it takes. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a few years to obtain your green card.

To help make this transition easier, we recommend having an experienced immigration lawyer on your side. They can help make sure you are on the right track to green card status and permanent residency in the U.S.

Contact Ybarra Maldonado Today

If you have any other questions about H1B Visas and how to get one, Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help. We are a group of experienced Phoenix attorneys who remain committed to protecting the Spanish speaking and immigrant communities in Arizona.

At YMLG, we strive to be a client-centered firm that offers exceptional representation. Our goal is to empower our clients with the knowledge necessary to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Call us today at 602-910-4040 or visit our website to see what we can do for you.