The H1b visa is granted by the government of the United States to foreign professionals who wish to enter and work in the United States. To qualify for one as a professional, the applicant must have an American or foreign University Baccalaureate or the equivalent. An applicant who does not have a Baccalaureate from any country can use years of experience as the equivalent to satisfy the education requirement. You can learn more about H1b visa law Los Angeles attorneys are experienced with.

Labor Certification

Many foreign professionals living in the United States or abroad can apply for the H1b visa. Those who qualify for the H1b visa can enter, live, and work in the United States for a maximum of 6 years. During those 6 years, the professional can apply for a Labor Certification from the United States Department of Labor and thus qualify for permanent residence (Green Card). However, it is important to know that there may a long wait to apply for the Green Card. Depending on the number of years of experience and level of education; the wait to apply for the Green Card can be from several months to several years. Only those applicants who have a Master’s degree or the equivalent can apply for permanent residence the same year that they receive the approval of the Labor Certification.

The Qualification

United States Immigration laws accept three years of experience as equivalent to one year of education. In other words, even if the applicant has never been to university in the United States or abroad, the applicant can qualify for the H1b visa as long as he has proven experience in his profession. For applicants who have some years of education at a university, Immigration law allows their years of experience to be added to those of education in order to qualify for the H1b visa. For example, an applicant who only has 2 years of university education, they would be qualified as a professional as long as they have 6 years of experience. Also, it is a prerequisite that the applicant has a job offer in the United States in their field of profession.

The Requirements

To recap, the requirements to qualify for the H1b visa include:

  • Must have entered the United States with a valid visa (example: tourist, student, work visa, etc);
  • Must not have stayed in the United States longer than that granted for the visa;
  • Must have a Baccalaureate from an American or foreign university or 12 years of experience in your profession;
  • Must have a job offer related to your experience and education in an American company that is willing to sponsor you;
  • Must have applied for a visa or a change of status (if you are already within the United States).

In Summary

It is important to note that if you are in the country on an H1b visa and want to change jobs, the new company has to obtain a new H1b visa for you before you can start working at your new job. Anyone who falls out of legal status or starts working for a new company without a new H1b visa would violate Immigration law. For breaking the law, the person is immediately disqualified for permanent residence. If you are interested in an H1B visa, you can speak to a Los Angeles attorney who is versed in that area of the law.