H1B Visa FAQ: Most Commonly Asked Questions Answered

H1B Visa FAQ

H1B visas are extremely popular. This is because they are the most common nonimmigrant work visas available to professionals or “specialty workers.” H1B visas are routinely utilized by US corporations and organizations throughout the country, regardless of industry or job duties. In my practice, I often see the same questions posed by foreign nationals regarding the nuances of the visa. I wanted to collect these most “commonly asked questions” and compile the answers for you.


In this guide, I will explain the most complicated H1B visa concepts and simplify them. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you.




1. H1B Visa Requirements and Process


  • What is the minimum education and work requirements to be eligible for an H1B?


  • What is the H1B visa process exactly?


2. Timing your H1B


  • How long does an H1B visa last for?


  • How long does it take to get an approved H1B visa?


  • When can I start working on my H1B visa?


3. Popular H1B Benefit: Portability


  • What is the “portability” rule for H1B visas?


  • Am I qualified to port my H1B visa?


4. Popular H1B Questions from Employers


  • What information must my employer provide to file an H1B?


  • How much should I get paid on an H1B visa?


  • How does my employer determine what the required wage is for my H1B position?


  • What is the difference between the prevailing wage and actual wage?


5. Conclusion


1. H1B Visa Requirements and Process


What is the minimum education and work requirements to be eligible for an H1B?


Here, an American employer can apply for an H1B with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) on behalf of a foreign worker, so long as that the offered job requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a field of study related to the offered job.  Common H1B fields include, yet are not limited to, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, architecture, health sciences, law, education, business, accounting, and other positions.


To be a “specialty occupation” the job must:


(1) require a degree or


(2) a combination of education and relevant work experience in a field closely related to the job offered.


For prong two, typically at least three years of related and progressive work experience can be evaluated to equate one year of formal college studies (this is also known as the 3 to 1 rule).


What is the H1B Visa Process exactly?


Pending on your situation, the H1B application process is typically three to four steps:


1. Collect all the information and documents needed for the petition


  • Proof of educational or work qualifications, passport bio data page, proof of lawful status, etc.


2. Receive certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL)


  • As of 2019, this is now done through what is called the “FLAG System.”


3. Preparing and submitting a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS


  • Here, you will submit your supporting evidence (point 1), Form I-129 and H Supplement, the certified LCA, and fees.


4. If you are outside the United States, have violated, or overstayed the terms of your current status, you may need to obtain an H-1B visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate abroad.


  • Here, you will need to submit a DS-160, pay your visa interview fees, schedule an appointment at your local consulate, and obtain visa stamping.


Remember that government delays are always a risk at any of the H-1B stages. Due to this, we often encourage our clients to pursue premium processing, where USCIS guarantees a decision within 15 days, provided no additional information is needed from the employer.  The USCIS’ premium-processing program requires a supplemental $1,440 filing fee in addition to the regular H-1B filing fees.


2. Timing your H1B Visa


How long does an H1B visa last for?


Typically, you will be granted H1B status for an initial period of three years and extensions can be obtained for a maximum of six years. Note that you can apply beyond six years of H1B time if you have an approved I-140.


Employers can request for shortened H-1B visa validity (less than three years). This might be for an employee who would work on a short-term project or may be part-time (note that fulltime employment is not required for H-1Bs).  If your employer is requesting part-time H-1B status they must be able to demonstrate that the underlying H-1B employment is your primary purpose for being in America.  H-1Bs authorize a foreign national to only work for the petitioning employer under the specified terms of the visa.  Consequently, an H-1B worker may be the beneficiary of more than one H-1B petition and, therefore, can work for multiple employers at one time.


How long does it take to get an approved H1B visa?


The time it takes to get an approved H-1B can vary greatly. This typically depends on the processing time of the various government agencies involved. H-1Bs are unique as not all visas require both the Dept. of Labor and USCIS to work cohesively. Therefore, if you are thinking about getting an H-1B, try to start your process on the earlier end – keeping in mind that you cannot submit your petition any earlier than six months from the anticipated employment start date.


When can I start working on my H-1B visa?


If you are outside the United States or you are holding another nonimmigrant status other than H-1B (such as an F-1 student visa or L-1A Intracompany Transferee) you cannot begin working for the petitioning employer until the H-1B petition is approved and you have officially switched over to H-1B status. Although, if you are applying for an H-1B change of employer, you may be able to start working and “port” to your new employer upon filing the H-1B petition.  USCIS guarantees a decision within 15 business days if a supplemental $1,440 premium processing fee is paid and your case is not rendered an RFE (Request for Evidence).


3. Popular H-1B Benefit: Portability


What is the “portability” rule for H1Bs?


If you were previously granted an H-1B visa or provided H-1B status, you may begin working for a new H-1B employer as soon as that new employer files an H-1B petition for you. What is considered “filing” for purposes of USCIS? You do not even have to wait for the receipt or I-797 notice that the application has been receipted in; rather, you can actually start upon evidence that USCIS has received the application. Therefore, you are allowed to port to a new employer immediately upon the filing of your new H-1B petition without having to wait for the USCIS approval of the new petition that can take 90 days or longer.


Am I qualified to port my H1B?


To be eligible for immediate employment authorization portability, you must meet three conditions:


  • You must have been lawfully admitted to the United States. Meaning, you did not enter without inspection. A lawful admission to the U.S. means that you were processed by CBP and granted an I-94 (presently, these are digitally issued one via CBP). If you are visa-exempt, you may have some other indication of a lawful admission.


  • The petition for the new H-1B employment was filed before the end of your period of authorized stay that was either granted by USCIS or CBP. This means that the new H-1B petition must be filed before the end date on the person’s first H-1B petition as indicated on their I-94 or I-797.


  • Lastly, you must not have been employed without authorization since you were lawfully admitted to the US.


Please be sure to speak to our office before commencing work under the portability rules, to assure you are not violating your H-1B provisions.


4. Popular H1B Questions from Employers


What information must my employer provide to file an H1B?


The basic information required from your employer petitioner to file an H-1B petition includes:


  • Date the company or organization was established;
  • IRS identification number;
  • The total number of employees;
  • Net and gross annual figures, or, if a non-profit organization, the annual budget;
  • The specialty worker’s job title and a detailed description of the proposed job duties;
  • Salary of job duties;
  • Description of benefits;
  • Name and title of the person of the employer’s signatory (person who will sign on behalf of the employer); and
  • Information regarding the employer and the types of services it provides.


The company must be able to demonstrate the ability to pay the salary offered to the H-1B employee.  Therefore, if your employer has less than 100 employees or is newly formed, they may be required to show extensive documentation to establish this.  In these cases, they may want to furnish a financial statement or tax returns.


How much should I get paid on an H-1B?


In order to protect American workers, petitioning employers must compensate H-1B employee(s) with the same pay rate and benefits normally offered to an American worker in either (1) the same position and geographic area or (2) the “actual wage” previously offered to a similarly employed individual at their company, whichever is the highest of the two. Thus, the mandatory wage to pay an H-1B worker is the higher of the prevailing rate of pay or the actual wage for that position in the area of the work site. Keep in mind that employers are obligated to keep a Public Access File to establish they are paying the employee the required wage and are otherwise complying with the terms and conditions of the H-1B program.


How does my employer determine what the required wage is for my H-1B position?


Remember that the employer must pay the foreign national, H-1B employee, either (1) 100% of the prevailing wage or (2) the actual wage, whichever is higher.


What is the difference between the prevailing wage and actual wage?


The Department of Labor has defined the prevailing wage as the wage paid to workers in a specified occupation within an outlined geographic region. This wage is based upon a Department of Labor’s determination or another “authoritative source.” These authoritative sources are typically a geographically based salary surveys published within the past two years. Note that benefits may not be included in calculating the prevailing wage amount. Furthermore, employers must offer the same benefits to the foreign national as they would their similarly situated US workers - including but not limited to stock options, retirement benefits, vacation time, etc.  If you are working for an educational or non-profit institution, keep in mind that there are special prevailing wage rules that apply.


The actual wage is the amount paid by the petitioning employer to its employees “with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question.” When the employer enumerates “specific employment in question” – in regard to job duties and qualifications – the employer must then delineate (if applicable) among their other employees, to determine which are “similarly employed” based upon:


  • Job responsibility and function;
  • Qualifications ;
  • Education;
  • Experience;
  • Specialized knowledge; and,
  • Legitimate business factors.


If such similarly employed workers are paid different salaries, the employer must be able to justify which of these above factors justify the pay differences.


To protect American wages, the Dept. of Labor does not allow employers to drive down salaries by employing foreign nationals at a lower rate. Thus, the Dept. of Labor requires that the employer retain and sign an actual wage memorandum in a “public inspection file,” along with other LCA materials. This memorandum would include an analysis of the above listed factors and why the foreign national’s pay is justifiably lower.


6. Conclusion


Remember, there are many complicated folds to an H-1B, and most may not apply to you at all. The process may seem daunting at first, although, I am happy to break down these legal complexities and work with you and your employer.


If you have any questions about how you may qualify for an H-1B or if you need help evaluating any complexities with your case, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you.

Share this post...

Ashoori Law
Based on 618 reviews
saeid zamani
I had an appointment with Mr Mehri, he answered all of my questions patiently and professionally. I am fully satisfied with their service and strongly recommend them.
Pawan Sutrala
Excellent unit at Ashoori Law to help us through what ended up as not a very straightforward E2 visa process. My wife was the main E2 applicant of a new franchised based business in a CPOM state. CPOM (Corporate Practice of Medicine), for the... uninitiated, is a doctrine that establishes stringent rules and structural guardrails on businesses and business owners of medical and related practices. Not all states in the US have these requirements. Ashoori team and Shruti Bali, in particular, was excellent and, more so, patient in dealing with us and our concerns, fears and expectations. Quite a few times, we found ourselves in a panic with our situation - we had made the requisite financial and personal commitments (for instance, sold our holdings in Canada, paid the substantial franchise fees). However, Michael personally got involved and Shruti was phenomenal in calming our nerves and prepping us through the process. The guidance around our options were clear and ambiguities very few. The preparation for the interview was immaculate - we were over-prepared and breezed through that. Thank you Michael, Shruti and the rest of the fantastic Ashoori team. Worth every penny!read more
Hannah Mansour
Ashoori Law provided an exceptional service from start to finish for my approved E2 visa application. Their expert knowledge and management of every aspect of the application meant that the process was smooth and efficient. Everyone involved was... friendly, professional and went the extra mile to make sure that the application was flawless. I would recommend them 1000 times over. Thank you Ashoori Law!read more
Peppe Öhman
Me and my husband immediately knew Ashoori Law was the law firm we wanted to help us with our green card application. The approach of this firm is friendly and professional. All our inquiries were answered rapidly and we felt very secure in out... journey to permanent residency. I warmly recommend Ashoori Law.read more
Amir Asgari
A Life Changing Law FirmI would like to thank the team of Ashoori Law who took care of my application for EB5 .Very efficient and professional.
Eric Georgeson
Great team, good system, always responding to the emails on time and following up without me asking.Highly recommending.
Matthew Habib
The law firm of Michael Ashoori was a great & pleasant experience, they are professionalsI 100% recommend them for all your immigration needsThank you ashoori law firm
meelad almasak
Ashoori Law has been helpful throughout my immigration process! Everyone on the team, attorney's, paralegals, legal assistants and the billing team are phenomenal. They are professional that take time to answer your questions, and make you feel at... ease. Lorianne and her team have made my application easy and smooth. I would highly recommend Ashoori Law to anyone!read more
Jamie Faus
Ashoori Law was attentive to our questions through the process of obtaining a marriage based green card. They walked us through the process, saved us countless hours worth of paperwork, and set clear expectations. Ultimately, Ashoori helped us... secure the marriage based green card in the period of time they had initially quoted. We would recommend Ashoori to those looking to option a marriage based green card.read more
Ramandeep Singh
We have known Michael for almost 4 years now. Very knowledgeable and top most professional in his field. We hired Michael for E2 visa and he got us approval every single time even for the renewals. Michael truly believes in helping the clients all... across the world through his videos and I definitely recommend him to anyone looking for immigration advice. Best of the best !!!read more
Mayra Contreras
We have had a great experience with Ashoori Law. All of the staff are very responsive. I am a many questions person and they had answers to everything. Our case was processed quickly and efficiently. We will continue to use them and recommend them... to family and friends.read more
Joti Puri
I am so glad I used this firm for my US related immigration work. They were very friendly and pleasant to engage with and answered all my questions in a timely manner throughout the entire process. They were also cheaper in comparison to another... firm who I had been recommended to by a friend. The information they provided was accurate and made sure my application was never jeopardized ensuring I was up to date and acting in compliance with the law.read more
mohammad javadipour
I have got my Case approval only within 10 months!I think it was one of my best decision to choose The Ashoori Law, which they have helped me a lot through the whole process, and if had not be the preciseness and accuracy which they have shown... through the whole process, the result would be still in dark for me.They are extremely experienced which I think that what makes them a wining card!read more
Rohit Sirinivasa at Ashoori Law provided some very valuable advice for my H1B NOID issued by USCIS. He is proficient and very prompt with his communication.
Hitesh Mahay
I had a great experience with Ashoori Law Firm. Ashoori Law is a professional law firm with a great team. They helped me getting my I-140 approval. Everyone was responsive and helpful in guiding me through the process. I highly recommend them for... all your immigration needs.read more
Roman G
We applied for E2 visa and were approved. Our experience was very positive, they reviewed our documents and prepared the packet very fast and were attentive to all our questions. I would definitely recommend them. Also they didn't charge any hidden... fees, were upfront with all the expenses.read more
Yousuf Dadi
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help with my cases. It had been an exciting journey since 2018 when we first started working with Ashoori law Office on my E visas .I am grateful to you and to all your colleagues... who assisted in the whole process. Thank you so much! I appreciate all of your help and guidance Attorney Fredrick has also been great, and I appreciate all the hard work that he has put into my case EB5 as well. This was a long process but definitely worth it!read more
Fauzia Usman
Thankyou so much Michael Ashoori and your Immigration Attorney Shruti Bali and all team member to help me process me and my family case of E2 Investor Visa. It took Approx. 10 months from Ontario Canada. I Never visit IN person to this Firm,... everything deal and process online. Ashoori Law serve Great Professional Service. Highly recommend.read more
Berna Antelo
I really recommend the Ashoori Law team, they are wonderful and always ready to help you in all the different steps and process. My best experience.
Anita Valasek
Ashoori Law has made my husband’s American dream became reality exactly in 5 months time. I found Ashoori Law on Tiktok. I liked how informative Michael’s videos were so I knew his law firm would be the one for us. From the moment we approached them... till the unbelievable last email that informed us that my husband’s green card arrived at their firm, has been a very smooth ride. Very responsive to any questions we had, they worked as efficiently as we did on our paperwork. We highly recommend Ashoori Law with all your immigration needs. We are very thankful for their expertise.read more
Adam Weston
We finally received my wife’s green card thanks to Ashoori Law. They made everything very easy which is key. Highly recommend.
zaheer aulakh
My experience with Ashoori law is excellent.I applied for E2 through them and I got the approval.Throughout the whole process Ashoori team and specially my attorney has been very supportive and guiding.I really recommend Ashoori Law.
Karim El-Gamal
I’ve worked with Ashoori on several issues regarding E2s and EB5s and some other unique issues. They have delivered on my needs every time with support from their team and networks. I’ve worked with other law firms prior and no one could handle... these unique complex requirements like Ashoori.read more
Malwa Truckline
We express our heartfelt gratitude to Michael and the entire team at Ashoori Law Firm for their exceptional handling of our case. Their professional expertise and dedicated efforts made the entire process remarkably smooth and easy for us. We... enthusiastically recommend Ashoori Law Firm to anyone seeking top-notch legal services. It was truly a pleasure doing business with them, and we are thoroughly satisfied with the outstanding quality of their work.read more
Gunveen Bachher
Highly recommended. The staff is professional and they do whatever it takes to get the job done. Thank you so much for everything.
Highly professional, supportive, patient and timely response with our ongoing immigrant visa process. I highly recommend this firm!
I wish to express my sincere thanks for all the work and effort you, your team and especially Lorainne put into my case. Lorainne is a senior experienced attorney with detailed knowledge all intricacies and rules and regulations of L1, she guided... and handheld me through the whole process beautifully.L1 is not an easy process, but you guys made it absolutely seamless for me, without putting any undue financial burdens.Your team also did a wonderful job with writing the business plan. All work and pricing was transparent. Support and responsiveness was on point. The process was made easy and seamless in every way.May God Bless You and bestow upon you more Success, Peace and Happiness in everything you all do. Amen!read more
Andres Riera
Ashoori Law came highly recommended and did not disappoint. My whole immigration process was smooth from beginning to end. They answered any questions at any time and always kept me updated. If needed to, I would not hesitate to consult with them... againread more
I booked a consultation on the web site. There were 2 text reminders before, which is really great! I talked to Juan Robles. He answered all my questions, cleared all the doubts. I'm very greatfull to him! Strongly Recommended!
Kay F
Green card approved! 🎈 🎈 🎈Would like to say a sincere thank you to Ashoori Law firm and team for the tremendous job they did. My husband and I attended our green card interview November of 2022. Our case kept pending until... June of 2023. We were rescheduled for another interview in September 2023. Michael and team still kept contact and kept us updated throughout the waiting period. An Attorney was availed to us just to help out with the preparations. Even after having waited for almost a year, Ashoori law did not ask us to pay any extra attorney fees. My green card was approved a few hours after the interviews. We are sincerely grateful for the guidance and help rendered throughout this process. If we had to retain an attorney again for this process, we would definitely hire you a thousand times more.read more
Carlos Iglesias
I found out about Ashoori Law because I was looking for a law office on the internet. I was skeptical at first since I was living in Miami, and they are located in California. I looked for more information about them and despite having found it, I... preferred to look for something local. I found a local office in Miami and went in person for an interview. After paying for the first consultation and before starting to collect the necessary documents, they stopped answering my calls and communicating with the lawyer was very difficult. Due to that bad experience I decided to give Ashoori Law a chance and I am happy I did. The first consultation was free and starting the process was very simple, they have a platform where you can upload the documents and monitor what is needed. My wife was out of the country, and it was very helpful to have the facility to upload the documents. Jesser was always ready to help me with my questions and no more than 24 hours went by without receiving a response from them, even the payments were easy to make, the accounting department they have is very effective, they made sure I received my receipts on time, and they even helped me with the best payment method available. I am very satisfied with them, and I definitely recommend this office. If you want to know more about them, you will eventually see that their offices and they are legit. I even receive videos and updates every week with important information on the latest developments in immigration laws. My wife and I are happy to have chosen them.read more
Arsineh Hebert
Ashoori Law has exceeded our expectations. They are extremely professional, courteous, support a quick turn around, and communicate regularly and clearly. I highly recommend them!
Arsineh Hebert
We had an excellent experience with Ashoori Law. Extremely progressional and worked quickly to get us a successful outcome!
mohammed khaled
The Ashoori firm is one of the best law firms I have dealt with. They are so quick, professional, and responsive.I got my case approved in a few weeks
Mariana Sanchez
I had a great experience working with the Ashoori Law team. Everybody was responsive and helpful in guiding me through the immigration process. They answer all of your questions and really make it easy for you to work out immigration stuff. Do your... part (turn in the requested documents on time) and then rest is taken care of by the Ashoori Law team. True peace of mind.read more
Alec Strickland
Ashoori was a great help with our green card process. They filed all of our paperwork, were available the entire time to answer any questions (we had many), and provided personal counseling for the final interview
Jamal Albardwil
I was delighted with my experience. Mr. Ehsan Ashoori Was a professional, and free consultation meant free and informative. And he educated me on what to expect and do, the likely outcomes, and how to achieve it. I would highly highly recommend this... immigration law firm to anyone needing an immigration law firm.I wish I could give them 6 stars.100% professionals.read more
Sanjeev Bhalla
Ashoori Law is a professional law firm with a great team. We had applied for my daughter's change of status visa and they handled it pretty well and we got the status change without any difficulty. I would strongly recommend them to anyone who... wishes to engage a immigration law firm. They will do a great job as was in our case. I'd like to thank Michael and Sergio as well their entire team for the fantastic work work they did for us.read more
Graem Beddoes
Very grateful for the help and guidance in getting our E2
Carolina Marmolejo
Very proffessional law firm. My husband & I appreciated their attentive, meticulous and detailed work on our case. They always stayed communicated and responsive to us from beginning to end.
Kaveeta Ramnarine
Totally grateful to the Ashoori team for their excellent service. They are very responsive and knowledgeable, they go above and beyond for their clients.Special thank you to Attorneys Rebecca McCarthy and Ehsan Mehri for their continued support in... our process.read more
Shyam Chandrasekharan
I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks for your exceptional guidance and expertise in securing my visa extension approval. Your professionalism, attention to detail, and dedication were instrumental in achieving this success. Your support and clear... communication throughout the process were invaluable. I'm deeply grateful for your outstanding work.read more
Malia Hi’ilani
Ashoori Law is a very knowledgeable and thorough law firm, with a great team. They gave me confidence in my business plan by providing a free discovery call to see if it was worth pursuing. Very personable and available for all of my questions or... concerns throughout the process. I was granted my E2 change of status successfully. I would highly recommend them for all of your immigration needs.read more
Israt Jahan
AshooriLaw is a great choice for our case.they response fast and very helpful.
Beth Jinks
Ashoori Law again handled my green card travel document renewal application professionally, and they accurately predicted the processing time. I've tackled similar paperwork alone before, but have now been working with Ashoori for about five years... because they provide peace of mind that everything is handled correctly. Highly recommend.read more
Next Reviews
Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.