The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant temporary work visa that allows employers in the country to temporarily employ foreign workers for specialty occupations. This does not include any job. For this visa, the job has to require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a certain field. Individuals must have received a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in work experience. The job that is being offered to the individual should require a bachelor’s degree to qualify. These professions may include architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, biotechnology, education, law, accounting and many more highly skilled professions.

How long does the visa last?

When an individual is granted access to an H-1B visa, they are allowed to reside in the country for three years. This time may be extended to add another three years. Since these visas are only granted to individuals working in a specialty occupation and for a specific employer that is sponsoring them, this individual must leave the country if they quit or are fired from their job.

If I have a student visa, does this qualify as the same?

Student visas are not the same as an H-1B visa. Through a student visa, individuals are allowed to attend a specific institution that is furthering their education. This may be a trade school or a college or university. If students graduate with a bachelor’s degree and are offered a job, they may wish to obtain an H-1B visa. Since a student visa only applied to their time as a student, they must gain approval for an H-1B visa.

When job opportunities arise, the student will then be able to carry on with their career once they acquire an H-1B visa. If they obtain a job in the field that they studied in, then their employer can sponsor them to continue their residency in the United States. Once they are granted this temporary visa, they could potentially reside in the U.S. for up to six years. After the three year period of time, individuals have the opportunity to extend their residency another three years. However, this is all dependent on their employment. If individuals end their employment or they are terminated, they have to seek other options. After this, they may wish to find another employer. They could also apply for a change of status. If these options are not possible, then the individual may have to leave the country.

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please contact the office to discuss your circumstances and options.