Determining eligibility for H1-B visas

Before applying for an H1-B visa for yourself or a potential worker, understand the required criteria.

With an H1-B visa, an individual can be admitted to the United States to live and work for up to three years, with the ability to extend to up to 6 years. This category is for applicants who wish to obtain a specialty occupation that requires a particular level of education, merit or ability.

As the hiring employer or potential worker, it is vital to understand what specific employment positions fit the criteria forH1-B visas and qualifications an individual must possess to obtain one.

What is a specialty occupation?

To qualify as an H1-B-eligible specialty occupation, a job must require a bachelor’s degree or higher, or the equivalent to the minimum education typically required for this type of position. The job must possess unique requirements that can only be performed by an individual with this type of degree.

Some examples of common qualifying positions include:

  • Software developers
  • Computer programmers
  • Database managers
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Physicians and surgeons
  • Teachers, elementary and secondary
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants and auditors
  • Financial specialists
  • Architects
  • Marketing and public relations specialists
  • Medical scientists
  • Biological scientists

How does a worker qualify for an H1-B visa?

To obtain an H1-B visa, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • An applicant must have a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree that is required by the specialty occupation, or the equivalent foreign degree. This degree must be from an accredited college or university.
  • If the applicant does not have the appropriate degree, he or she must have education, training or progressive experience in the specialty area that is equivalent. Typically, three years of experience can substitute for one year of college.
  • The potential worker must possess the necessary licensure, registration or certification to practice that occupation in the intended U.S. state.

How to start the application process

The first step in an individual obtaining an H1-B visa is for the sponsoring employer to file the Labor Condition Application with the US Department of Labor. To ensure everything runs smoothly throughout the entire visa application process, employers and workers alike should seek the advice and representation of an experienced immigration lawyer. With qualified legal representation, you can ensure you comply with federal immigration laws and regulations and navigate through the application process as efficiently and effectively as possible.

With H1-B visas, time is of the essence. Applications for the H1-B lottery are due April 1, with a limit of 65,000 slots for workers with bachelor’s degrees and 20,000 slots for master’s degree or higher.

To discuss your immigration law needs and start the H1-B visa application process, contact C.T. Lee & Associates, located in New York City, at 800-494-3809.