Most Frequently Asked Questions About H-1B Visas

What is an H-1B visa?
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign nationals in specialty occupations such as engineering, architecture, mathematics, Science and medicine.  

How long is an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is normally granted for 3 years and can be extended for up to 6 years.

How long does it take to obtain an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa can generally be obtained within 4-6 weeks if premium processing is utilized.

Is there a cap on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued per year?
We are fortunate that our US hospital clients are not subject to any numerical cap.  As they are magnet facilities and teaching hospitals they can apply for H-1B visas year round with no numerical limit attached to them.

Does the H-1B visa include my spouse/dependents?
H-1B visa holders are permitted to bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the US under the H4 category as dependents.  An H4 visa holder can remain in the US as long as the H-1B visa holder remains in legal status.  An H4 visa holder is not permitted to work in the US, but they can attend school, obtain a driver’s license and open a bank account.

If I have a pending EB3 (green card) petition with another hospital/agency will it affect my application for an H-1B visa?
You can have a pending EB3 and a H-1B petition without it affecting either application.  You just need to make sure that your EB3 sponsor is aware of your intentions and is agreeable.  The benefits of you working on an H-1B visa while waiting for your EB3 petition to become current is that you will be able to adjust your status from within the US.  You will also have 3 years of US experience which will benefit your EB3 sponsor.

What will happen if my EB3 petition becomes current while I am working on my H-1B visa?
You will need to give this some careful consideration, because if you decide to break your contract with your H-1B sponsor it is likely you will be liable for breach of contract costs.  This is typically around $20k.  Make sure before signing a job offer that you are committed to seeing through your contract for both visa sponsors.

Can my H-1B be converted to an EB3 (green card) petition?
Yes, your H-1B can be converted to a green card.  It varies hospital to hospital but typically the hospital employer will convert your H-1B visa to a green card as you finish the 2nd year of your 3 year contract.  If your countries priority date is current the green card should be approved and processed by the time your contract finishes.  If your countries priority date is not current the hospital employer will happily extend your H-1B visa for you.  This will enable you to continue working in the US while you wait for your green card.

Will my family be included in the EB3 (green card) petition?
Yes, your spouse and any children under the age of 21 can be included in your green card petition.  The hospital employer will pay for all the attorney fees and your visa fee, however, you will be responsible for your dependents visa and medical costs.


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