H-1B Work Authorization

What is the H-1B Visa Status?

The H-1B visa is issued to foreign employees with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and only in certain areas of employment such as specialty occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Fashion Models. This visa status is sponsored by the employer.  There is a visa limit each year so work with your employer to file properly and in a timely manner. 

Employment visas are often complicated.  We cannot endorse a specific expert to assist you in this process. We recommend that you use a search engine to help find the right H-1B specialist for you. 

What are the Criteria for Applying for H-1B Visa Status?

The specific requirements for the H-1B status may be found on uscis.gov.  General Requirements and a Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be approved for most of the Specialty Occupations.

H-1B Cap

A limited number of H-1B visas are awarded each year.  This numerical limit is called the "cap".  The annual regular cap is 65,000, plus 20,000 for those who have obtained Master's and above degrees from U.S. universities.  Additionally, H-1B workers are employed at an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap. F-1 students who are converting from OPT to H-1B should contact their Designated School Officials to ensure that their status is recorded properly in the SEVIS system.  The School Officials may also extend OPT with a “Cap Gap Extension”.  Notify your school officials when applying for H1-B.

Family of H-1B Visa Holders (H-4 Visa holders)

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification may not engage in employment in the United States.

H-4 Dependent Children Notice

If the H-4 dependent children are attending an institution of higher education in the United States and will continue to do so after their 21st birthday if the H-4 dependent child visa holder attending BGSU, they should apply for a change of status to F-1 student at least six months prior to their 21st birthday.  It is his/her responsibility to contact the International Student Services Office for assistance with the change of status process.  The ISS Office will guide students through the filing of the Form I-539.  Children of H-1B visa holders who are applying for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) but who have not yet received approval six months prior to their 21st birthday, should consult with their immigration lawyer to determine whether to change to F-1 status.  In most cases, ISS will be able to assist students to change their status to F-1 Student nonimmigrant during LPR adjudication.

H-4 Dependent Spouse Notice

On February 24, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security amended the immigration regulations to provide means for certain H-4 dependent spouses of H1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment based lawful permanent residence (LPR) to apply for work permission through the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) process.

Please note that this rule becomes effective May 26, 2015 which means that H-4 dependent spouses must apply on or after that date for work permission.  Spouses can file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, under the (c)(26) filing code as long as the H-1B has already started the process of LPR.  The USCIS will update its forms and instructions to reflect these changes on May 26, 2015.

The full final rule states (in part):

“H–4 dependent spouses of H–1B nonimmigrants if the H–1B nonimmigrants either: (1) Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I–140); or 2) have been granted H–1B status pursuant to sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, Public Law 107– 273, 116 Stat. 1758, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Act, Public Law 107– 273, 116 Stat. 1758 (2002) (collectively referred to as ‘‘AC21’’). “

Updated: 03/29/2023 02:14PM