What is an H-1B?
The H‑1B status permits temporary employment (up to 6 years) in the U.S. for people who have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the same or a related field as the job offered. The position offered must require professional-level skills and pay at least the minimum salary (called prevailing wage) as defined by the government. The employer must submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for approval of the H-1B position. Petitions are approved on a first come, first served basis and are accepted each calendar year beginning April 1.
Changing from J-1 to H-1
One of the first issues that will come up if you are offered an H-1B position is whether or not you are subject to the Two Year Home Country Physcial Presence Requirement. If you are subject to this rule, you must return to your country of last legal residence for two years or obtain a waiver of this requirement before you are eligible for the H-1B.
Not all J-1s are subject to this 2-year requirement. If you are, applying for a waiver is a lengthy process and the timing is tricky. If you have a question about whether you are subject, or how and when to apply for a waiver, attend one of our workshops on the subject and then make an appointment to speak with an advisor at Berkeley International Office if you have further questions.