According to INS regulations you can get a maximum of 6 years in H-1, H-4, L-1, L-2 status with one or different employers. You cannot get additional time in H-4 or L-2 status. H Visa category contains following types of visas,
H-1A : Nurses
Issued to professional nurses for a period of 5 years. An extension of one year may be granted under extraordinary conditions. A trainee nurse may also enter under an H-3 visa. Athletes and Entertainers have now been removed from this category and placed in O and P categories. This visa has now been discontinued.
H-1B : Specialty Occupations
Issued to persons in a specialty occupation, fashion models of distinguished merit and ability or persons providing service related to the Department of Defense cooperative research and development project or co-production project.
H-1C : Nurses
Issued to nurses who are coming to work in areas of health professional shortage.
H-2A : Temporary Agricultural Workers
Issued to temporary workers performing agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.
H-2B : Skilled / Unskilled Workers
Issued to skilled or unskilled workers, provided a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident is not available for the same job.
H-3 : Trainees
Issued to a temporary worker who has been invited by an individual or organization for purposes of receiving instruction and training other than medical. Nurses who are doing internship may come under this category.
H-4 : Family
Issued to the spouse and dependant children of the prime beneficiary of the “H” visa.
An H1-B visa is the most sought after visa to enter the United States under the non-immigrant work authorization category. This visa allows an alien to work temporarily in the U.S. in a ‘specialty occupation’ or a professional position. It is also applicable to fashion models of ‘distinguished merit and ability’.
An employer, on behalf of the alien, must file an H1-B petition once a firm job offer has been given and accepted by the applicant. This petition must show that certain pre-requisites have been met, viz.:
a) A Labor Condition Application has been approved by the Department of Labor (DOL)
b) The position must fit within the definition
c) The alien must possess the necessary qualifications and experience to engage in a specialty occupation
Duration of Visa:
The H1-B visas have a maximum time limit of six years, including extensions
The H-1B visa is available for individuals who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to work in a “specialty occupation” or as a fashion model. A “specialty occupation” is defined as an occupation requiring specialized knowledge normally acquired through obtaining a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. To obtain an H-1B visa, one must have at least either a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent or education, training, and on-the-job experience that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. Your education and/or experience must be related to the position being offered to you. Some of the occupations that qualify for H-1B status are accountants, computer programmers, computer system analysts, hotel managers, journalists, medical technologists, pharmacists, and social worker. To get an H-1B visa, you need a specific job offer from a qualified employer in the U.S. An H-1B visa is usually issued for a period of upto three years, with a extension for another three, upto a maximum of 6 years.
The H-1C category was specially created in 1999 by the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act, to allow certain hospitals in medically underserved areas to employ up to 500 nurses nationally in a temporary non-immigrant status.
1. Have obtained a full and unrestricted license to practice nursing in the country where the alien obtained a nursing education, or have received nursing education in the U.S.
2. Have passed the examination given by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or have obtained a full and unrestricted (permanent) license to practice as a Registered Nurse(RN) in the state of intended employment, or have obtained a full and unrestricted (permanent) license in any state or territory of the US and received temporary authorization to practice as a RN in the state of intended employment.
3.Be fully qualified and eligible under the laws (including such temporary or interim licensing requirements which authorize the nurse to be employed) governing the place of intended employment to practice as a RN immediately upon admission to the U.S. and be authorized under such laws to be employed by the employer. The temporary or interim licensing may be obtained immediately after the alien enters the U.S. and registers to take the first available examination for permanent licensure.
Duration of Visa:
The H-1c visas have a maximum time limit of three years.
An H-2 visa is the most sought after visa to enter the United States under the non-immigrant work authorization category. This visa allows an alien to work temporarily in the U.S. to perform agricultural work or to perform temporary or seasonal work.
(1) A job offer from an employer in the U.S.
Duration of Visa:
Maximum of 3 years, including extensions
The H-2 visa category is divided into 2 subcategories. Both subcategories require your employer to show that your services are needed on a temporary basis. The H-2A visa allows you to come to the U.S. temporarily to perform agricultural-related work. To get an H-2A visa, you need a specific job offer from a qualified employer in the U.S. With H-2A status, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for a maximum of 3 years, including any extensions.
The H-2B visa allows you to come to the U.S. to perform temporary or seasonal work. The work may be either skilled or unskilled, but it must be temporary in nature. Unlike an H-1B visa that requires a college degree, an H-2B visa does not have such a requirement. Individuals in the entertainment industry or athletes coming to the U.S. who do not qualify for an O visa or a P visa may be eligible for an H-2B visa. To get an H-2B visa, you need a specific job offer from a qualified employer in the U.S. With H-2B status, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for a maximum of 3 years, including any extensions.
An H-3 Visa is generally given to a temporary worker who is invited by an individual or organization for purposes of receiving instruction and training other than to receive graduate medical education or training. The training must be one ‘that is not designed primarily to provide productive employment’.
This visa is mainly used by U.S. companies and institutions to bring foreign employees to the United States for a temporary period in order to participate in an established company-training program.
1) You are coming to the U.S. to participate in an established training program;
2) The proposed training is not available in your home country;
3) The proposed training will benefit you in pursuing employment outside the U.S.;
4) You intend to depart upon the completion of the training.
Variable (duration of training program, but not to exceed 2 years)
The H-3 visa allows individuals to come to the U.S. to receive instruction and training from a U.S. company. The training you receive in the U.S. must be unavailable to you, personally, in your home country. Furthermore, you must show that the training will further your career in your home country. You are able to work with an H-3 visa, but your work must be incidental to your training. If your work is considered as productive employment rather than training, you will not be eligible for an H-3 visa. To get a H-3 visa, you need a specific offer from a qualified company in the U.S. With H-3 status, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your training program, for a maximum of 2 years.
The H-4 visa is for the spouse or dependent children of an H Visa.
1) Valid H Visa by the principal applicant.
Duration of Visa:
Same as that of the principal H visa applicant.
H-4 visa holders are allowed to stay for the same period of time as the principal H visa.