June 22, 2020 update: President Trump temporarily suspended several new work visas, including H-1B visas. Read the New York Times article.
Nevada employers may recruit foreigners to work for them in the U.S. by sponsoring them through H-1B visas. Eligible foreigners must have a specialized occupation that requires a college degree. H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas that are valid for a maximum of six (6) years, but it may be possible for the foreigner to stay longer or adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident.
Below our Las Vegas “H-1B Visa” attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about specialized occupation visas in Nevada. Click on a topic to go directly to that section.
- 1. Can I get an H-1B visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. How do I get an H-1B visa?
- 3. How long does it take to get an H-1B visa?
- 4. How long is an H-1B visa good for?
- 5. How much does it cost to get an H-1B visa?
- 6. Can my family come with me on an H-1B visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- 7. Can I study while on an H-1B visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- 8. Can I leave the U.S. while on an H-1B visa?
- 9. Can I get a green card while on an H-1B visa?
- 10. What if I quit or get fired from my job while on an H-1B visa?
For information on other work visa options in Nevada, see our article on employment visas.
Foreigners may be eligible for an H-1B visa if they meet all the following five conditions:
- The foreigner has an employer-employee relationship with the employer petitioning for the visa,
- The job is related to the foreigner’s degrees,
- The job must pay the actual or prevailing wage (whichever is more),
- An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the application (the annual cap is currently 65,000), and
- The job must qualify as a “specialty occupation.”
A “specialty occupation” for H-1B visa purposes must fall under one of the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher degree is the typical minimum requirement for the particular job;
- The degree requirement is common for this type of job, or else the job is so unique that it can only be performed by someone holding at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the job;
- The employer normally requires a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent for the job; or
- The specific duties are so specialized that the knowledge necessary to perform the duties is commonly associated with having a bachelor’s degree (or higher).
Foreigners who get H-1B visas are typically in such specialized fields as scientific research, IT, finance, law, engineering, health care, architecture, math, or biotechnology. In Nevada, some H-1B visa holders work at the Nevada System of Higher Education, Nevada Solar, and Health Plan of Nevada.
H-1B visas versus other employment visas
H-1B visas have fewer prerequisites than EB-1 visas and EB-2 visas, which requires advanced degrees and/or renown in their occupational field. Meanwhile, H-1B visas have higher threshold requirements than EB-3 visas and H-2B visas, which do not necessarily require bachelor’s degrees. And unlike H-1B visas, all EB visas extend automatic green card status.
Much of the H-1B application process lies not with the foreigner but with the U.S. employer petitioning on the foreigner’s behalf to work in the U.S. First, the employer submits a Labor Condition Application to the Department of Labor. Then the employer files an I-129 Form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once the I-129 petition is approved, the foreigner will get instructions for applying for an H-1B visa. The foreigner may then have to go to a visa interview at his/her local U.S. consulate and give his/her biometrics (fingerprints).
The time frame for getting an H-1B visa varies, but usually between three (3) and six (6) months.
With some exceptions, an H-1B visa is valid for three (3) years and may be extended for another three (3) years.
The H-1B visa fee is $190.
Yes, an H-1B visa-holder’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may accompany the visa-holder to the U.S. But if they want to work while in the U.S., they have to apply for an employment visa.
Usually, an H-1B visa holder is allowed to go to school as long as the H-1B visa-holder remains employed according to the terms of the visa.
Usually yes, but it is important that H-1B visa holders keep all the papers and documents with them that they showed Customs and Borders Protection when they first entered the U.S. on the H-1B visa. In today’s political climate, it is never a sure thing that foreign nationals will be able to re-enter the country even with valid visas.
Possibly. Although H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas, H-1B visa-holders are allowed to adjust status to lawful permanent residence if their employer agrees to sponsor them.
The visa-holder may then either find another employer to sponsor his/her H-1B visa, change to a different non-immigrant status, or leave the U.S.
Call a Nevada immigration attorney…
If you are seeking a work visa in Nevada, call our Las Vegas immigration attorneys for a consultation. We will guide you through the process as quickly as efficiently as possible.