H-1B VISA Overview

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H-1B status is designated to foreign national employees in "specialty occupations", which require a minimum of a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) and highly specialized knowledge.  According to federal regulations, H-1B work authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.  A petition for an H-1B can not be submitted to USCIS more than six months in advance of the start date for the proposed employment.  H-1B status is usually valid for a maximum of six years and an initial request for H-1B employment authorization may not exceed three years.
In most cases, a foreign national will not be able to begin employment until an approval notice has been received for the H-1 petition.  However, in certain cases where a new employee already possesses valid H-1B status, the new employee may not begin employment until an H-1B application has been filed by USA and the University has received a receipt notice from USCIS verifying that the petition has been received.  Any department wishing to sponsor an individual or with questions related to H-1B visa holders should contact the Immigration Coordinator as soon as possible.