The H-1B category is an expedient manner in which to bring foreign-born professionals temporarily to the United States. Consequently it is one of the most widely sought visa classifications for professional employment in the United States. To obtain an H-1B visa, there must be a job offer and an employer who is willing to sponsor a person by filing a petition with the Immigration & Naturalization Service. INS will review the petition and send an approval notice if it is satisfied that all conditions for an H-1B worker are met. An individual may have a petition filed for him from more than one employer if he or she seeks employment in multiple jobs. If an individual is in H-1B status and seeks to change jobs, he or she must have a petition filed for him by his or her new employer and can begin working upon filing of the new petition.
An individual may work in H-1B status for a maximum of six years. However, a petition will not be granted for more than three years. An extension of stay is requested if an individual is in H-1B status already and he or she is eligible for a longer period of employment. INS will generally not grant a petition for self-employed people. A petition may be filed by a job contractor, namely a person or entity that pays its employees for services performed at the work sites of other employers.