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H1B Visa allows US companies to hire foreign workers

In: Visa By: Sameer Joshi

The H1B Visa allows US companies to hire foreign workers in specialized fields for up to 6 years.  Since it is a non-immigrant visa, it is generally quicker to process, although the company hiring foreign workers usually begins applying 6 months before the actual date of visa issue. 

An H1B visa holder can apply for permanent residency in the US to get a Green Card.  In case the person does not gain permanent residency, he/she will have to live outside the US (on expiry of visa) for at least 1 year before reapplying for another visa. Current US immigration laws allows upto 85,000 new H1B visas each year. Of this 65,000 can be issued to foreign workers, while 20,000 visas are available for people with advanced degrees from US institutions.

To be eligible for an H1B visa, a candidate must fulfil at least one of the following criteria:
a)  Have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US college.
b)  Have a foreign degree that is equivalent to that of a US college.
c)  Have training or experience in the specialized field that is equivalent to a college degree.
d)  Holds a license, certification or registration that authorises practice in the specific field.

H1B visa holders can bring their dependents (husband, wife and children under 21) with then under the H4 visa category.  An H4 visa holder can stay as long the H1B holder does.  Although the dependent will not be allowed to work, he/she can attend university / school, open a bank account and get a driver’s license.

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