Ask An Alhambra Immigration Lawyer: What's an H1-B visa?

What is the H-1B visa?
As students graduate and start looking for new jobs, I often receive inquiries about employment-based immigration. One of these inquiries was from a young woman who had graduated from Cerritos College with outstanding grades and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting.  However, she was having difficulty finding a job because employers didn't want to sponsor her for an H-1B.  “What did that mean?” she wondered.
The H-1B visa is granted to those working in professions that require specialized knowledge.  It allows U.S. companies to temporarily employ highly skilled foreign workers.  Usually, at least a bachelor's degree is required, or substantial on the job experience.  An H-1B allows the worker to stay in the U.S. as long as he or she works for his or her sponsoring employer.  The H-1B visa is also a dual intent visa, which allows the immigrant to apply for permanent residence (green card) at a later stage.
What is the H-1B cap?
The USCIS limits the amount of H-1B visas that are issued.  Currently, the H-1B is capped at 65,000 visas.  Each year, the application cycle opens on April 1.  In previous years, the H-1B cap was hit on almost the very first day or usually filled within a month or two.  However, recently, due to the poor economic climate, the number of H-1B applicants has slowed dramatically.  Nevertheless, it's still highly recommended that immigrants interested in the program submit their applications as early as possible.
What are legitimate income streams for an H-1B visa holder? Can he start a business and earn money? Can he write books and earn royalty?
Some examples of specialty professions include accountants, artists, chemists, doctors, engineers, and upper-level business managers. A writer might qualify under the artist profession if the work he or she is doing is highly specialized or in conjunction with another job, such as a professorship.  However, although the H-1B analysis is sometimes quite subjective, a writer that’s writing books on his or her own would probably not qualify. This is because the H-1B also requires that the applicant have a job offer from an U.S. employer, amongst other requirements. An applicant that’s starting his or her own business would likely be denied an H-1B visa on these grounds as well, although there are other options that this type of applicant can explore, such as investment based petitions.


The article is not legal advice or opinion, and should not be construed as such.  Franklin Tzeng, Esq. is a practicing immigration attorney, specializing in employment visas (H-1B, L) and investment visas (EB-5) in Alhambra, CA.  For more information, please visit King of or Franklin's Facebook page.  To ask Franklin a question, email

本文非法律建議或意見,也不應該被如此理解。加州阿罕布拉市的Franklin Tzeng 是一位專攻商業發展和移民法的在職律師。更多信息請訪問。若有 問題請教Franklin, 歡迎發郵件到。

Este  artículo no es un consejo legal ni opinión, y no debe ser interpretado como tal. Franklin Tzeng, Lcdo. es un abogado, especializado en el desarrollo empresarial y la ley de inmigración, en Alhambra, California. Para más información, visite Para pedir Franklin una pregunta, envíe un correo electrónico a

About the author: Franklin Tzeng

Immigration law is our passion. We're a full service firm handling all visa, green card, and naturalization petitions. We specialize in employment visas (H-1B, L) and investment visas (EB-5). Business hours are by appointment (請預約). To schedule an appointment, contact or (626) 808-5565. 如果您需要預約諮詢關於移民法, 敬請聯絡我們在 (626) 808-5565 或者

More Articles

Post new comment

Anonymous comments are moderated. Login or register to post unmoderated comments.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.