What is the H1B Visa?
The United States H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to petition the United States government to allow foreign workers in specialty occupations to work in the United States for a temporary period of time.
A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge. To be eligible for an H-1B visa the foreign worker must possess at minimum a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). H-1B visas are especially prevalent in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) because of the high number of qualified foreign workers often found in STEM occupations.
How Difficult Is It To Get an H1B Visa?
H1B visa requirements can be difficult to meet because you must first be hired by a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor you. Competition for jobs in the United States is fierce, and demand for visas to enter the US grows daily. Furthermore, there is a limit on the number of H1B visas granted each year. As of 2020, the H1B visa has been temporarily suspended by the United States, citing the risks presented to the US labor pool due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
H-1B visas are employer-sponsored, which means foreign workers cannot apply for H1B on their own. A U.S. employer must file an H-1B visa application on behalf of the foreign worker.
Additionally, the U.S. employer and the H-1B applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The U.S. employer must prove to the government that they have been unable to find qualified US applicants for the position.
- The applicant must possess highly specialized knowledge of the field/occupation they are applying for.
- The H-1B applicant meets the minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or higher.
- The degree or education requirement for the job is typical or industry standard for the job (for example, it is required for a physician to have a D.O. or M.D.).
- The job being applied for requires a professional in a specialty occupation (with highly specialized knowledge to fulfill the requirements of the position).
Alternatively, there are other US visas available that do not require employer sponsorship, and can be obtained by investing in a qualified U.S. business. E-2 visa of the USA via Grenada citizenship is a popular route that gives investors the opportunity to migrate to the U.S.
By investing in a Grenada Citizenship by Investment program, foreigners can obtain Grenadian citizenship and the opportunity to apply for a US E-2 visa.
US E2 Visa*
Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program
The US E2 visa* is open to foreign investors seeking the opportunity to live and work in the United States. The E2 visa* permits a foreign investor and their immediate family to migrate to the United States, where they can access top schools and obtain the right to work anywhere in the US.
* Terms and Conditions apply. Please contact a US immigration lawyer for further information.
Can Foreigners With An H1B Purchase A Home?
H1-B visa holders often have limited or no credit history which makes it very difficult to get a loan to purchase a home in the US. Many lenders will not loan to non-citizens, or they will apply incredibly high interest fees on loans.
Additionally, H-1B visas are temporary short-term visas which pose a financial risk to foreigners looking to purchase a home knowing they will only be able to reside in the U.S. for a short period of time.
How Long Does An H1B Visa Last?
The H1B visa is valid for three years, and can be extended for an additional three years up to a maximum of six years. After six years, the foreign worker must exit the US and wait one full calendar year until they can be eligible to apply for a new H1B visa.
Another drawback of the H-1B visa is that visa holders do not have the freedom to leave their sponsor company for new opportunities. The H-1B status is connected to the U.S. employer that sponsored the foreign employee. To change companies the visa holder would have to go through the H1B application process again.
The E-2 visa is not contingent upon any particular job or employer sponsorship. E-2 visa holders are only required to establish and operate a profitable and qualified business in the U.S. Additionally, E2 visas* can be extended an unlimited number of times, whereas H-1B visas are only valid for a maximum of six years.
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