The initial H-1B visa may be issued for up to three years. It may then be extended in the first instance for up to two years, and later for one year, for a maximum of 6 consecutive years.
One of the privileges of the H-1B visa, as opposed to many other nonimmigrant visas, is that it is a ‘dual intent’ visa. In other words, under the terms of the H-1B visa, the foreign worker can apply for a Green Card and become a permanent resident, while maintaining their H-1B visa status. If an employer is willing, the employer can sponsor the foreign worker holding the H-1B status for a green card petition.
H-4 visas are issued to an H-1B holder’s spouse and children under twenty-one years of age. Holders of H-4 visas are considered to be dependents of H-1B visa holders. As H-4 status holders, spouses and children under twenty-one years of age may be entitled to enter and remain in the United States for the duration of the H-1 holder’s authorized stay and will also be issued Employment Authorization to obtain employment during the H-1B holder’s period of stay.