Why Knowing the Types of H-1B Visas Matters: An Informative Read

Are you fully aware of the various types of H-1B visas applications? In one of our previous articles, we gave you an idea about the Companies that hire H-1B workers in Canada, where we gave you a little introduction to what is H-1B visa.

In this article, we will try and give you the full information about the H1-B visa for you to expand your knowledge and options at this critical time.

In this current situation where the regulations regarding the H-1B visa are becoming harder and harder, its time for you to look for other options actively.

In this article, we will give you the list of different types of H-1B visas applications that you should know about right now.

What is H-1B Visa?

The H1-B visa is a visa program under the U.S Immigration and Nationality Act that allows U.S based employers to hire and employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

As discussed in the previous article, it is a fact that employees cannot apply for any H-1B visas by themselves. It is a visa program where eligible employees are sponsored to work and live in the U.S for three years period of time, extendable up to six years.

As we know, individuals cannot apply or sponsor themselves for the H-1B visa. Rather, it is the employer that is based in the U.S sponsors a foreign worker for an H-1B visa.

To sponsor a foreign national, the employer must file a Labor Conditions Application under which, the occupation, the wage(must be equal to the prevailing wage of others in similar positions), and other necessary attachment of documents from the worker must be filed with the U.S Department of Labor.

Status of the Visa holder

A foreign national under the H-1B visa is categorized as a non-immigrant worker is not taxed on his income, so he/she is not entitled to any of the benefits such as social security and public health policies.

But, the status of individuals on H-1B visas regarding social security and public healthcare benefits changes from person to person.

If an employer decides to tax on his employee’s income, he/she might be eligible for those benefits in the future.

A non-immigrant worker under an H-1B visa can avail the permanent residency in the U.S through the green card. All details regarding the green card are given below in the article.

Seven Different Types Of H-1B Visa Applications

1. H-1B Overseas

H-1B Overseas or the Initial application of the H-1B Visa is where the person is currently living outside the U.S.

The employer in the U.S receives the resume of the prospective candidate and proceeds further to file the Labor Condition Application, to state the occupation he is to be positioned in.

In this application, the candidate attends the clearance interview at the U.S Consulate in his/her own country. And, when the candidate is cleared of necessary eligibility criteria, he or she can move onto the next consecutive steps.

2. H-1B CoS(Change of Status)

This type of application is for those who are not current holders of H-1B, but holders of other visas like the J-1 and F-1. When a visa holder in the U.S, who is just in a different category of visas like the F-1 student visa, wants to upgrade or change of status of his visa, he can apply for the H-1B Visa(Change of Status).

If you are a student in the U.S under F-1 Visa, you found employment in the United States you need to change your current F-1 student visa into an H-1B Visa.

And, this is necessary as you have upgraded from a student to an employee. This is indeed one of the conventional types of H-1B Visa applications.

All you will have to do is file an I-539 form with USCIS concerning the immigration policies set by them.

3. H-1B CoE(Change of Employer)

If you are a current H-1B Visa holder, you very well know that you need to be employed to maintain your H-1B visa.

But, if you are unhappy with your current employer and you get an offer from another employer in the U.S, this is the best useful visa application to change.

This type of application is not subject to any caps or quotas and can happen any time of the year, any number of times. It is necessary that this application has to file when any change of employers happens to you.

But, if you happen to work for a non-profit organization, you need to file for a fresh H-1B visa, go through the quota subsections, and then win employment with a profit organization.

For Change of Employer, an application of Form I-539 is necessary to complete this successfully.

4. H-1B Amend

When you and your employer resort to specific changes in the term and conditions of your employment, this type of application has to be filed. When you are being promoted or being shifted to a new workplace or other changes, these have to be necessarily updated with a new Labour Conditions Applications form by your employer.

Your employer has to file the I-129 application to the USCIS with a processing fee of $40. This application has to be necessarily filed when there is a salary hike so significant that the USCIS must know it.

You should necessarily remember this particular type of H-1B Visas application because whenever you are required to update, you should. When there is a failure to file an amended claim, it might even lead to revoking your current H-1B visa.

5. H-1B Concurrent

An H-1B Concurrent application means that more than one employer employs an H-1B worker in the U.S at the same time. Usually, a worker employed in an H-1B visa is not allowed to have other jobs that are a source of income.

A second employer sponsors this Concurrent types of H-1B visas in the U.S, your primary or your first employer need not necessarily know about the primary employer of yours in the U.S. But, the secondary sponsor/employer will have knowledge about your primary sponsor/employer.

There is no limit to the number of concurrent H-1B visas a person can hold, and you can even work on different fields of occupations as long as it is classified as a specialty occupation.

While going for an H-1B Concurrent visa application, it is highly relevant to retain the visa sponsored by your primary employer.

6. H-1B Extension  

The time validity of an H-1B visa is usually three years for non-immigrant workers. H-1B visa can be extended up to 6 years. If your six-year time duration on the H-1B visa has expired, then you can apply for an extension on one-year increments. As per the immigration laws, you should stay outside the U.S for one year and apply for a new H-1B visa with a new I-129 through your employer.

But, the most preferred way is to be sponsored for permanent employment and change of status from non-immigrant workers to immigrant workers. Once your status as an employment-based immigrant has been approved, your next target would be to gain Green Card or Permanent Residency in the U.S.

This is the most resorted type of H-1B visas applications for many of those wanting to live in the U.S permanently. For this, again, a Form I-539 is necessary to be filed.

7. H-4 Visa

This is not necessarily one of the types of H-1B visas applications, but a sub-category of H-1B visas that are provided to the dependents of the H-1B visa holder.

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

H-4 visa is one of the most essential types of H-1B visa applications since it is offered to those who come along with the  H-1B visa holders.

If you are an H-1B visa holder and you wish to bring your spouse/parents/children or any other relative or dependent, an H-4 visa is granted to those who are classified as dependents of the H-1B visa holders. With the H-4 visa alone, a dependent is not allowed to work anywhere in the U.S.

If you wish to allow you’re dependent on an H-4 visa to work in the U.S.A, a Form I-765 should be filed by your dependent to work with the H-4 visa. But, the validity of the H-4 Visa holder stands only as long as the H-1B visa holder’s validity.

The policies of immigration in the U.S are expected to get tougher and tougher in the future. Or at the least, it gets more complicated. So, if you are an outsider currently living in the U.S, keep yourself updated about the formalities and legal proceedings of the immigration policies in the U.S.


Each of these different types of H-1B visa applications serves different purposes for the visa holders.

With the tightening rules and regulations on H-1B visas, existing visa holders in the U.S are resorting to many ways to keep themselves legally in the U.S. But, all its takes is the necessary knowledge about the issue and the initiative to act upon them.

For other articles regarding the H-1B and U.S Immigration, check out our Icy Canada website.

Last Updated on by Sanjana


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