The H visa preference is reserved for aliens entering to perform short-term labor or service or receive training from an employer that has petitioned for such alien. For each classification, except for H-1C (registered nurses participating in the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas), an employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and a Labor Condition Application before the alien may apply for a visa. If the occupation that the alien seeks requires a state or local license, the license must be obtained before approval of the petition. This classification accounts for about 2 percent of nonimmigrant admissions annually.
H-1B classification is reserved for aliens coming temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. This includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. The authorized period of time that an alien granted an H-1B visa can stay may not exceed six years. There is a numerical cap on the number of aliens who may be granted this visa status--sixty-five thousand for each fiscal year. This preference category alone accounts for almost 52 percent of all temporary worker (H) visas.
H-1B1 visas are reserved for aliens subject to the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
H-2A visas are reserved for aliens coming to perform agricultural labor or service of a temporary or seasonal nature. The provisions for admission of an H-2A temporary worker are found in INA § 218. The numerical cap on this visa is set at sixty-six thousand per fiscal year. Similar to the H-1B visa, the numerical limitation applies only to the principal alien petitioner and not spouses or children. This category accounts for 22 percent of all H visas and about one-half percent of all nonimmigrant visas annually.
H-2B visas are reserved for aliens coming to the United States to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or service. As in other temporary employment-based categories, the granting of this visa to an alien is dependent on the potential employer's demonstration that there are no U.S. citizens available to perform the labor and that the wages that the alien will earn will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. The annual cap on workers receiving this visa is set currently at sixty-six thousand. This category of H visa accounts for about one tenth of a percent of all nonimmigrant admissions.
H-3 visas are reserved for trainees who are coming to participate in a training program that is not designed to lead to employment in the United States. This category accounts for one-tenth of a percent of all nonimmigrant visas.
H-4 visas are reserved for the spouses and unmarried minor children of H-visa recipients. This category accounts for about one-third of a percent of nonimmigrant admissions annually and 16 percent of all H-visa admissions annually.