If you have an H-1B visa and are working in the US, it is essential to keep in contact with an experienced US immigration lawyer to ensure that you are kept abreast of any changes that might affect your visa status.
The H1-B Visa
The H-1B visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa that allows US employers in specialty fields to temporarily hire foreign workers. The workers must have bachelor’s degrees or higher, and they are typically hired in areas such as:
- Information Technology
- Science and research
- Health care
- Architecture and urban planning
To be eligible for an H-1B visa, the applicant must have a formal job offer. Their employer is required to file and obtain an approved petition on their behalf from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The H-1B visa is valid for up to three years with the possibility of a three-year extension. After six years, the H-1B visa holder must either apply for permanent residency or leave the US for at least a year before becoming eligible for another H-1B visa.
The H-1B visa program typically has limits for the number of visas granted annually. Thus, it is best to consult with an experienced US immigration lawyer to discuss your specific situation.
The H-4 Visa
The H-4 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the dependent spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of H-1B visa holders to enter and stay in the US. Applicants must be able to prove their relationship with the H-1B visa holder through a valid marriage certificate or birth certificate. The H-4 visa is issued for the same duration as the H-1B visa. This means that if the H-1B visa holder’s visa is valid for three years, the H-4 visa will also be valid for three years.
The H-1B visa holder must apply for the H-4 visa on behalf of their spouse and children by submitting Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status, to the USCIS. Once the USCIS approves the application, the applicants can apply for a visa at the US consulate in their home country or apply for a status change if they are already in the US.
H-4 visa holders are eligible to work in the US. In 2015, the government introduced a new rule called the H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) program, which allows certain H-4 visa holders to apply for employment authorization in the country. To be eligible for an H-4 EAD, the spouse of an H-1B visa holder must meet specific criteria. An experienced US immigration lawyer can help determine if the H-4 visa holder meets these eligibility requirements so they can apply for an EAD and work in the US while their H-4 status is valid.
Latest News on H1-B Visas
In recent news, Save Jobs USA, a group representing Southern California Edison computer professionals, challenged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ruling allowing H-4 visa holders to apply for H-4 EADs. A district judge upheld the ruling to continue to allow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US. The court dismissed the suit, which argued that the Department of Homeland Security did not have the authority to establish the rule and sought to eliminate work authorizations for over 90,000 new H-4 visa holders. Various tech companies and the US Chamber of Commerce filed a brief, arguing that eliminating H-4 visas would negatively impact productivity and innovation. The judge rejected Save Jobs USA’s argument and cited executive branch practice and implicit congressional ratification of the rule.
Your US Immigration Lawyer in Montreal
Changes to your visa status can instantly change your life. At Silver Immigration, we stay current with all updates and changes affecting immigration policies and laws. Contact our US immigration lawyer if you have any questions about your immigration status.
Complete our client form or call us at 1 (888) 799-4769 to schedule your free consultation.