FAQS: H-1B Visas

Frequently Asked Questions About Nonimmigrant Visa Classification

An H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification available to individuals working in:

See below for our answers to commonly asked questions about the H-1B.

  • Yes, but both employers must file and receive the approval for separate H-1B petitions for that foreign national.

  • No, the H-1B visa only permits the foreign national to work as a part-time or full-time employee of an employer who files an H-1B visa petition on their behalf. Freelance work is prohibited, even for a foreign employer.

  • According to the federal statute, INA (Immigration & Nationality Act) 212(n), a foreign national may port to a new employer, after an H-1B petition that meets the H-1B requirements has been filed by the new employer. In this case, the foreign national may commence the new employment after the petition has been properly filed with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, before the petition is approved.

  • Generally, foreign nationals are allowed to use up to a maximum of six years of H-1B visa status, for up to 3 years at a time. To be eligible for an additional six-year period, the foreign national must remain outside of the United States for at least one year before applying for the H-1B through the annual lottery.

  • The spouse of an H-1B visa holder is eligible to apply for H-4 visa status, either through the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services or at a U.S. Consulate outside of the United States.

    Foreign nationals who are in H-4 visa status are eligible to pursue their studies in the United States in this status.

    Currently, foreign nationals who are in H-4 visa status may be eligible to work in the United States after applying for and obtaining an Employment Authorization Document from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, only if the following applies: a. the H-1B principal beneficiary has an approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or b. the H-1B principal beneficiary has been granted extensions in H-1B status past the 6 year limit, pursuant to sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21).