H-1B1 Visa Classification

Kevin Brady, Freeman, Torii  |  8/15/2006 11:22:40 PM

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is used to employ a foreign national as a temporary worker in a specialty occupation.  A specialty occupation is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as an occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge requiring at least a baccalaureate degree or equivalent for entry into the occupation.


Highlights of the H-1B Classification 
  • Performs professional services in a specific position for a fixed period of time
  • Used to “fill” a vacancy which has been advertised
  • Employment authorization may be for an initial period of up to three years depending on the initial period of appointment
  • Extensions of employment may be authorized up to a maximum of six years
  • Employment is permitted only with the institution who petitioned for the H-1B classification
  • Individuals may receive approval from USCIS to work in H-1B status for more than one employer (each employer must file a petition)
  • Form I-797A authorizes employment . . . the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is not required ·
  • H-4 dependents are not authorized to work (unless applying for permanent residency and issued an EAD by the USCIS)


Dates to Monitor

  1. Expiration date of H-1B status (as indicated on Form I-797A)
    • Extensions should be processed approximately 2 to 6 months in advance. (Use the instructions below to assist in processing an extension.)
    • If employment will end, process a separation form.
  2. I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) expiration date


Processing Instructions

  • Instructions to process a new petition for H-1B status - PDF or Word
  • Instructions to process an extension of H-1B status. - PDF or Word


For additional information, follow this link to the USCIS page “Temporary Benefits Employment Categories and Required Documentation” and see section entitled Specialty Workers (H-1B).

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