The H-1B visa is temporary work permit available to individuals who will be working in the U.S. in a “specialty occupation,” meaning the job requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). In order to apply for an H-1B, you must be sponsored by a U.S. employer on either a part-time or full-time basis. Oftentimes, the H-1B is used a stepping-stone toward obtaining a Green Card.
Unfortunately, USCIS limits the numbers of H-1Bs issued each fiscal year to 65,000 for bachelor degreed professionals and an additional 20,000 for individuals who hold a U.S. master’s degree or higher. The limitation is known as the “H-1B Cap.” USCIS allows employers to file H-1Bs during the first 5 business days in April. It then conducts a random lottery to select which cases it will review and adjudicate.
H-1B petitions can be approved for up to 3 years at a time, for a total of 6 years. However, there are some exceptions that would allow you to extend your status for longer.