U.S. Process Overview: H-1B Visa – Change of Status – Cap Subject

January 21, 2021

Last Updated on February 26, 2023

Eligibility: The H-1B Visa allows companies to employ professional workers in a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation requires the application of highly specialized knowledge and the requirement of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The available position must require a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent in a specific field of study. The applicant must possess a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent that is related to the position.

Non-exempt applicants are subject to the H-1B lottery and Cap. Corporate Immigration Partners(CIP) begins preparing H-1B cap petitions in January each year in preparation for the April filing date. USCIS uses a random lottery process to select 65,000 H-1B visas for foreign nationals holding at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a qualifying field and 20,000 H-1B visas for U.S. Master’s degree holders.

Dependents: Eligible dependents may qualify for a dependent H-4 Visa. Please notify CIP of any dependents.

Processing Time

Preparation: 6-8 weeks

Government Processing: 2-3 weeks (Premium Processing); 8-10 months (Normal Processing)

Total Processing: Varies

Important Reminders

H-1B Visas are granted in increments of up to three years for a total of six years. H-1Bs may be extended beyond six years if the H-1B visa holder has an approved I-140 petition or a PERM application pending for one year or longer


The H-1B Visa is tied to a specific worksite. Please contact your CIP Team if there are any changes in job location, title and salary, as an H-1B amendment may be require.

International travel is not recommended after the H-1B Cap petition has been filed. Please notify CIP if you have urgent travel plans between April 1 and October 1.