Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.
It seems that you are eligible for an H-1B visa. You need to get a job offer. The job offer must be for a company that is offering a position that is related to your degree and experience. The position must normally require a bachelor's degree or higher. The company must have a need for someone in that position and must have the resources to be able to pay you what is normally paid to someone in that position. Also, because they are used up for this year, you will need to apply on April 1, 2017 to start working on October 1, 2017 or later. The exception is if you apply for a cap-exempt job and those are at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization. Those are not subject to this numerical cap.
Here is an official link to the H-1B:
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You are correct, the answer is no. Unless you are at the top of your field, internationally or nationally recognized, you cannot self-petition. You need an employer to petition for you. So are you at the top of your field?
I will take your silence to mean that you are not at the top of your field. If you are, here is a link to the green card where you can self-petition:
Even for an O-1 visa, you still need at least an agent to sponsor. Here is a link to that:
If not, then you will need to find an employer willing to sponsor you. I understand that the companies that you have approached are not willing to do so unless you already have the visa available. That just means you have to keep searching. There are companies out there. Of course, you may not end up working in the city that you preferred to work, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for the bigger picture. Here are some links to some websites that may be helpful:
If you are an educator, of course you need to look at schools, colleges and universities, but that has a benefit as well because you could apply for your H-1B at any time and not be subject to the cap/lottery.
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You are very welcome. Thank you for the positive rating. If you would like to request me in the future for a different topic, please remember to put FOR GUILLERMO in the subject line and message box. Good luck to you!