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  • Colleen Wright

The H-1B Might NOT Be a Good Option for You if...

Updated: May 3

By Colleen Wright

Account Manager ProfVal

In our blog posts, we routinely share perspectives from others regarding the H-1B. We are not affiliated with these organizations. Neither nor offer legal advice.


The H-1B is a Popular Visa, but May Not Be Your Only Option

As one of the main visa options for temporary employment in the United States, the H-1B is a popular option which may afford up to six years of employment in the U.S., and allows holders to apply for permanent residency if they wish.[1] The H1-B might not be a good option for you if do not meet the eligibility criteria. (Check to see whether you may qualify).

When might the H1-B NOT be a good option for you?

  • You do not have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university.

  • You are not interested in a position that requires the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in your field and your specialized knowledge.

Despite its many benefits, the H-1B presents challenges, including an annual cap on the number of visas afforded each year. (Learn more about the registration process). When weighing the pros and cons of the H-1B, it can be helpful to consider other options as well.

The H-1B visa is the most common temporary work visa for growing companies to fill professional positions in high-demand fields, but there are many other pathways to consider, including different visa categories as well as the possibility of obtaining H-1Bs without the lottery.”[2]

Read more: Sophie Alcorn, Business Insider and Alcorn Immigration Law, PC

What are some alternatives to the H-1B?

The following are several H1-B alternatives that could be a good fit depending on your skills, employment and additional considerations:

The O-1A for individuals with extraordinary ability

“O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in sciences, education, business, athletics or the arts may be worth exploring, though many graduates may be too inexperienced or early in their careers to qualify.”

-Read more: Deirdre O’Brien, O’Brien & Associates

The EB-2 for individuals with an advanced degree or "exceptional ability"

"The EB-2 visa is particularly interesting, as it is a permanent work visa based on either an advanced degree or "exceptional ability" that can either be sponsored by an employer or via self-petition. When an individual self-petitions and does not have a job offer, they must establish that it is in the best interest of the United States to approve their visa, thus leading the National Interest (NIW) requirement."

-Read more: ProfVal

The EB-5 for investors

“Individuals who have the means to launch a start-up may qualify for various permanent immigration visas, including those in the EB-5 category that are available for petitioners with specialized knowledge or advanced degrees.”

Read more: Karen-Lee Pollak, Pollak Immigration

The E-2 for investors

“What is there not to love about the E-2 visa? It is truly ‘the little visa that could!’ It enables individuals with citizenship from one of the E-2 Treaty Countries to get a visa based on their own business provided that they make a substantial investment in it ($80,000-$100,000 is often sufficient) and direct/manage it. The E-2 visa is not a green card, but it is typically granted for 5 years and renewable. Many individuals who initially come to the US on the E-2 end up staying and getting a green card.”

Read More: Tania Glowinski Gonzalez, Gee & Zhang, LLP

The L-1 Visa

"The L-1 visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests or a manager/executive from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee or manager/executive to the United States to set one up."

Read More: Scott Legal, P.C.

Selecting the visa that’s right for your situation is an important step toward securing work in the Unites States. Should you decide to apply for an H-1B, you can optimize your job search by learning how to find and target companies that sponsor H-1B employees. Read guidance from experts in the next blog post.

Additional sourcing: [1] [2]

All of the content mentioned herein represents the individual opinions of the author or authors, but none of it should be taken as legal advice.  All content is provided freely and without any warranties, guarantees, or liabilities.  In no event shall the writers or providers of this content be liable for any damages or other liability resulting from the opinions shared herein.

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