U.S. Process Overview: H-1B Visa – Consular – 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.

Upon approval, applicants abroad are required to attend an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

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) Processing)

Total Processing: Varies*

*Consular interview availability will vary depending on filing location of the Employee

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.

H-1B visa holders may pursue both nonimmigrant and immigrant benefits simultaneously.