To be eligible for H-1B status, you must (1) have a minimum of a four-year university degree (or equivalent); (2) be paid at the “prevailing wage”; and (3) the job must typically require a minimum four-year university degree or equivalent.
H-1B visas are subject to a numerical cap of 65,000 per fiscal year. In additional, 20,000 persons who obtain advanced degrees from universities in the U.S. have their own H-1B cap. Up to 6,800 H-1B visas are reserved for persons who are citizens of Chile and Singapore.
Cap-subject employers should prepare their H-1B petitions during February and March, and submit them so that the USCIS will receive the petitions an the beginning of April. Persons on whose behalf H-1B petitions are approved may start employment on October 1st. However, there are special rules for graduates working on Optional Practical Training (OPT) which enable them to continue working for their employers during the spring and summer and automatically changing status to H-1B on October 1st.
Certain H-1Bs petitions are exempt from the numerical caps including employment “at” universities, at “affiliated” or “related” organizations or at non-profit or governmental research institutions.
H-1B visas are typically valid for 3 years and can easily be extended for an additional 3 years. If a PERM application or an I-140 visa petition has been submitted in a timely fashion, post-6th year extensions of H-1B status are possible. We recommend that you extend your H-1B status until the day that you become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.