H-1B visas are available for alien workers who have at least a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent (combined experience) and a job offer from a US employer for a professional position qualified as a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is an occupation that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge” gained from courses in a 4-year college, Master’s degree program, Ph.D. program, or through extensive years of experience equivalent to a particular degree.
An alien worker can be in H-1B status for a maximum period of six years. After that time, an alien must stay outside the United States for one year before another H-1B petition can be approved. However, aliens may obtain an extension of H-1B status beyond the 6-year maximum period if:
An alien may change jobs without affecting status, but the new H-1B employer must file a new Form I-129 petition for the alien before he or she begins working for the new employer. The merger or sale of an H-1B employer’s business will not affect the alien’s status in many instances.