The H1B visa is a non-immigrant category established by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to employ international workers in “specialty occupations.”
Key Elements of H-1B:
• Specialty Occupation: a specialty occupation is an occupation that requires 1) the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and 2) attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree in a directly related field (or its equivalent).
• Employer Specific: An offer from a specific U.S. employer is required. If an international wishes to “transfer” from one employer to another, the new employer must file an H-1B petition for that person before s/he can change jobs. Please see “Change of Employer” for more information. (Extending and Maintaining H-1B Status)
• Position Specific: H-1B status is granted based on the specific terms of the specific position. Should there be changes in any of the terms of the position, an amended H-1B may be required. Please contact ISSO to discuss the new terms and to determine whether a new amended H-1B petition is required.
• Compliance with DOL Labor Condition Application (LCA) regulations: DOL regulations require that UCSF meet or exceed a pre-determined minimum prevailing wage and that the employee be compensated with employment benefits equivalent to that of any other employee in the same position and level.
• Dual Intent: The H-1B visa type carries “dual intent” which means that the holder may intend to return to his/her home country or intend to immigrate to the United States.
• Internationals subject to 212(e) 2 year home residence requirement are not eligible for H-1B visa. Please visit "Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement" for more information.
• Length of Stay: An H-1B petition can be approved for an initial maximum period of three years. Extensions of up to an additional three years may be obtained. This six year time limit is for all employments, regardless of employers.
*Special H-1B status extensions beyond the six-year maximum: Under the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21), it is possible to obtain H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit. For more information regarding these exceptions, please visit "What is a Green Card?"