The H-1B visa classification is an employment status for foreign nationals who will perform services in a specialty occupation. Speciality occupations require at least a bachelor's degree. Requirements for an H=1B visa are as follows:
- Foreign national must have a high degree of experience in the speicality occupation for which he or she is applying.
- Foreign national must have a bachelor's degree or minimum degree required for the specialty position.
- Foreign nationals cannot self-petition. Missouri State University must file the H-1B petition.
The H-1B visa is also job and location specific, therefore, the foreign national while employed is only allowed to perform the duties that are outlined in the H=1B at the location specific in the petition.
H-1B visa status can be obtained in one of two ways:
- If the individual is abroad, after certain application procedures are accomplished, the foreign national may receive an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate.
- If the foreign national is already in the U.S. and maintaining lawful non-immigrant status in another visa category, he or she may usually apply for a change of status to H-1B. If the H-1B employee is already on an H-1B visa in the U.S., Missouri State University will still need to process an H-1B visa petition on behalf of the employee.
There is no guarantee that the H-1B visa petition will be approved, even if the foreign national was able to obtain an H-1B originally.
An individual can maintain H-1B visa status for a maximum of 6 years. Employers can only petition for an H-1B for 3 years at a time, meaning an extension petition would be necessary. When an individual reaches the 6 year limit they must leave the U.S. and live abroad for one year before they are eligible for H-1B visa status again. An extension beyond 6 years is permissible for those for whom a Form I-140 Immigration petition for Alien Worker has been filled and whose labor certification or I-140 was filed for at least 365 days before the extension is requested.
If the hiring department terminates employment prior to the expiration date of the H-1B visa, the hiring department is responsible for paying the airfare home for the foreign national.