H-1B Visas: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • FAQS

What other options are available if my worker is not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

Individuals who are not selected in the H-1B cap lottery are not eligible to receive an H-1B visa for that fiscal year. However, they may qualify for other nonimmigrant visa categories. These options include:

  • H-4 or L-2 visas: If a foreign national's spouse has an H-4 or L-2 status may qualify to work on an employment authorization document (EAD). These visas are only valid while the principal spouse's H-1B or L-1 visa is valid.
  • L-1B: Certain individuals with specialized knowledge may be eligible to be transferred from an affiliated foreign office to its US office. Additional conditions apply.
  • L-1A: Executive or managerial workers can transfer from a foreign office to a US office if they meet certain requirements.
  • O-1: Individuals with extraordinary ability may qualify for the O-1 visa category.
  • J-1: Certain roles may qualify for the J-1 exchange visitor visa, including professors and research scholars, physicians, and more.
  • F-1: Prospective H-1B workers can remain in the US if they pursue higher education in the country on an F-1 visa. Work authorization may be available for full-time or part-time, depending on the degree program and how far along the individual is in their studies. Certain conditions apply.
  • Cap-Exempt Work: Foreign nationals may pursue employment with another employer that is exempt from the H-1B lottery. These employers may include higher education institutions, certain nonprofit organizations, and government research organizations.

Learn more about alternative visas to the H-1B visa.

What are H-1B amendments, and when are they required?

Employers must maintain conditions for their H-1B employees that were outlined in the initial H-1B petition, including work location, pay, and job duties. When there is a “material change” in any of these conditions, an employer must file an amended H-1B petition for the employee with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the change occurs. If an amendment is denied, an employee’s H-1B status is not affected.

An H-1B amendment would be required for changes to:

  • The work location, if outside of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) listed in the labor condition application (LCA).
  • A reduction or addition of hours.
  • Salary.
  • Job duties.
  • And more.

Read on for more details on when to file an H-1B amendment for work location changes and related FAQs.

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