H-1B Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is designed to allow U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals for temporary employment in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge or expertise, such as science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields.

What qualifies as a "specialty occupation" for the H-1B visa?

A specialty occupation typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a specific field of study. It must also involve the application of specialized knowledge and skills.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an H-1B visa?

H-1B visa holders are initially granted up to three years of stay, with the possibility of extension for a total of six years. Extensions beyond six years may be possible in certain circumstances, such as if you have a pending employment-based green card application.

Do I need a job offer to apply for an H-1B visa?

Yes, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to apply for an H-1B visa. The employer must file an H-1B petition on your behalf.

How does the H-1B visa application process work?

The H-1B application process typically involves the following steps:

An employer files an H-1B petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

USCIS reviews the petition and, if approved, issues an H-1B approval notice.

If you are outside the U.S., you must apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

If you are already in the U.S., you may need to apply for a change of status.

Is there an annual cap on the number of H-1B visas issued?

Yes, there is an annual numerical cap on the number of new H-1B visas issued each fiscal year. The regular cap is 65,000, and there is an additional 20,000 visas available under the H-1B Master’s Cap for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. Some employers, such as universities and certain non-profit organizations, are exempt from the cap.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on an H-1B visa?

Yes, it is possible to apply for permanent residency while on an H-1B visa. Many H-1B visa holders pursue employment-based green cards, and the process can be started by their employer.

Can my spouse and children accompany me on an H-1B visa?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can accompany you on an H-4 visa. However, H-4 visa holders are generally not allowed to work in the U.S. unless they qualify for certain exceptions.

Can I change employers while on an H-1B visa?

Yes, you can change employers while on an H-1B visa, but your new employer must file an H-1B petition on your behalf. You can begin working for the new employer as soon as they file the petition.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on an H-1B visa?

Yes, you can travel outside the U.S. while on an H-1B visa, but you must have a valid H-1B visa stamp in your passport and a valid H-1B approval notice. You should also consult your immigration attorney or employer for guidance on travel.
Ross Gregory
Ross Gregory
Tony Montana
Tony Montana
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Vishnu Prashanth
Vishnu Prashanth
My deepest gratitude for the outstanding support and guidance I received during the visa extension and stamping process. Davidson Law Group team, and particularly Leyla, went above and beyond to ensure a smooth and successful experience.Navigating visa-related matters can be daunting, but with Leyla's assistance and the overall support from your firm, I felt confident and well-informed throughout. Leyla provided tremendous support at every step, answering my queries promptly and offering valuable insights that significantly eased the process. The meticulous attention to detail and personalized service I received have left a lasting impression.I am truly grateful for the exceptional service provided by the Davidson Law Group. The team's commitment to client satisfaction and expertise in immigration matters have undoubtedly made a significant impact on my journey.Thank you once again for your invaluable assistance. I look forward to recommending your services to others in need of legal guidance.
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Aadia Mujawar
Aadia Mujawar
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Kartik Verma
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010